City of Cincinnati cuts funding for crossing guards at private schools

It seems budget cuts are impacting almost every school in the Tri-State, including those funded privately. After the city of Cincinnati slashed funding for crossing guards at parochial schools, many have to do without, leaving parents worried about safety.

In January the city of Cincinnati said it would no longer provide funding for private schools to have crossing guards, a decision many thought would be reversed. But almost four months later, the crosswalks stand empty and the only guards out are working for the public schools, a service Cincinnati Public Schools now pays for.

Cincinnati Public Schools says it had to absorb the cost of guards that the city previously agreed to pay for beginning in January 2009. Last school year CPS paid $800,000 from its budget and is paying $700,000 in the current school year.

Crossing a busy intersection to get to school is a reality for many students. Keeping them safe is the job of Linda Raphael, a crossing guard with 11 years experience. Now, Raphael works for public schools, after seven years at a private catholic school.

But students at St. Teresa of Avila school in Price Hill are not getting any help and volunteers are not an option. The principal of the school, Sharon Willmes, says she was worried about getting volunteers because volunteers aren't always dependable.

So it is up to the parents which some say is an expected responsibility but others are still concerned.

"You don't mean to be pessimistic but you are almost waiting for a disaster to happen because people fly through [the] street without paying attention," says Beth Knight.

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