City to Bail on Funding CMS Crossing Guards Outside Schools
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - For mom Amber Trumble, school crosswalks are a day to day necessity. She says, "They are important, extremely important because I have a 5 year old, an 8 year old, a 9 year old that walk to school every morning. If the crossing guard wasn't there, I wouldn't know what to do."
The city of Charlotte has funded the crossing guards until now. The proposed cut is part of city manager Curt Walton's effort to balance the budget. It would force the expense back on to the already cash strapped school district. "From a strategic standpoint, and I would say close to a moral standpoint, I think he's making a mistake,” says CMS School Board Member Trent Merchant.
Merchant is outraged by the possibility, saying, “They (city leaders) don't want to put any money into it because then they wouldn't be able to give the manager a raise, give the attorney a raise, give the council a raise and give every single employee on the payroll a raise."
On Monday, City Council voted six to five in favor of giving Walton a $15,000 raise, bumping his salary to just over $234,000 dollars.
The city will save about $175,000 if it stops funding crossing guards at crosswalks. If CMS is forced to fund them, that could put about three teaching positions on the chopping block.
"It doesn't have to be teachers. Maybe there are other positions or programs we could cut. but we absolutely are going to make sure kids get to school safely, even if that's not a concern of the city,” says Merchant.
"A whole bunch of kids need those cross guards so they can cross the street safely. I mean, people don't need raises if they can't fund other things,” says Trumble.
Merchant says none of the other towns in the county are backing out of their commitment to fund school crossing guards, only Charlotte.
There is also talk of forcing CMS to pay an additional $2.5 million for school resource officers, something the city has also funded until now. City manager Curt Walton did not return our call for comment.
What's On TonightFull Schedule