Cincinnati Public Schools absorb cost of crossing guards

Cincinnati Public Schools says for more than a decade the city was responsible for funding public school crossing guards. In January 2009 the city of Cincinnati slashed its budget leaving CPS to absorb the nearly $900,000 cost.

"The kids safety has to be a high priority," says Linda Raphael, a public school crossing guard who used to work at a private Catholic school.

Raphael is the eyes and ears of the community and guards at one of the busiest intersections, Boudinot Avenue and Queen City Avenue in Western Hills.

Raphael helps CPS student cross the street everyday, something the city used to pay for but CPS now covers.

"We couldn't just simply eliminate crossing guards. In the case of safety and security, $900,000 was a big hit to the budget," says Terry Elfers, CPS Chief Operations Officer.

In 2009, without funding from the city, CPS found a way to reduce the initial cost to $800,000 to keep guards at as many schools as possible.

"You save all the money you can and it goes in a pot and then you figure out how that pots going to be spent, that's how we did it," says Elfers.

But now non-public parochial schools are facing the same burden. The city cut its crossing guard budget January 2011, leaving the crosswalks empty and parents concerned.

"It was not only somebody helping them across the street but it was a familiar face and it was somebody who they trusted and felt comfortable with and it's really sad that she is not there," says Beth Knight, a parent with three kids at St. Teresa of Avila School in Price Hill.

The city of Cincinnati still cuts the checks for 92 public school crossing guards and bills CPS for re-imbruement. This year CPS was able to reduce the cost again to $700,000.

The city says by cutting 23 private school crossing guards, it saved $212,000.

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