Despite getting a clear answer from the District 96 school board three years ago, the Riverside Village Board is again proposing that the elementary school district and Riverside-Brookfield High School come together in the spirit of community harmony and split the cost for crossing guards, who are there by and large to make sure school children get across streets safely during the school year.
While there may be some thaw on the part of District 96 officials with regard to that idea, there’s still clearly some opposition from school board members who believe that it’s the village’s job to fund public safety initiatives and that everyone, not just public school children, benefit from the presence of the crossing guards.
While all of that is true, let’s be honest. The only reason there are crossing guards at all is because of the school children. The guards aren’t there when school isn’t in session, so it’s obvious whom the crossing guards are there to safeguard.
Could the village fund the full load? Sure. It’s a line item amounting to about $70,000 per year. The village’s general operating budget is about $8.6 million for 2014. That’s .008 of the budget. District 96’s operating budget for 2013-14 is about $20 million, and they’re being asking to shoulder a burden of about $33,000. That’s like .002 of their budget.
This line item isn’t going drive anyone into poverty. Shake hands, be neighbors and do the deal. It shouldn’t be that hard.