HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — Hillsborough County commissioners agree — enough is enough. They say they're ready to take the first steps to put crossing guards at all middle schools in the county.
Commissioner Stacy White brought forward the item on Wednesday, saying he wants to work with the Sheriff Chad Chronister to do a feasibility study into how much it would cost.
After a brief discussion, the commissioners voted unanimously in favor of directing staff to work with the sheriff's office on the study, which would explore the cost and manpower needed to staff 42 middle schools with crossing guards.
As part of our commitment to Driving Tampa Bay Forward, we have stayed on top of this story by highlighting schools raising their own money to fund a private crossing guard company.
- Hillsborough County sheriff calls for crossing guards at middle schools after ABC Action News report
- Parents work to hire private crossing guard company to keep kids safe outside Valrico Middle School
Sheriff Chronister thanks Hillsborough County Commissioners for approving the Crossing Guard Study
Chronister has very publicly backed the study proposed by Commissioner Stacy White and says he is excited about the possibilities of added and improved safety for local students.
"I commend the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners who approved Commissioner White's proposal," said Sheriff Chronister. "I look forward to working on this feasibility study. Any opportunity to enhance student safety is one I'm proud to join."
Sheriff Chronister has a very ambitious goal of completing the feasibility study in the next 30 to 60 days
Commissioners also requested to find out what schools don't have crosswalks outside of them. So they can look into what it takes to put them in place.
At Wednesday's meeting, half a dozen parents from Mulrennan, Rodgers and other local schools came to speak on the issue asking the commissioners to support their efforts.
ABC Action News started looking into if other counties have crossing guards at middle schools and how other counties fund them.
"According to our Juvenile Investigations supervisor, we do not have school crossing guards or Traffic Control Officers at either our middle or high schools, only public Elementary schools.
Our funding is based upon traffic studies from the County Traffic Planning Divison, to support positions as needed. Once their study is completed, they provide PSO their findings and we have our School Resource Officers and School Crossing Guard Supervisors do a personal observation for a specified period of time. We take the collective data, and professional opinions of our personnel to make a recommendation to add a new post position(s). We then hire the SCG into an over-hire position and include that new position in the following budget year's submissions."
"Yes, we have school crossing guards at middle schools within our jurisdiction. You would need to call the other law enforcement agencies in Pinellas to determine if they cover middle schools within their jurisdictions. Our school crossing guard budget for 2018-2019 is over 2.4 million dollars."
City of Sarasota:
"In the City of Sarasota, we currently contact out with Action Labor of Florida out of West Palm Beach."
City of St. Petersburg:
"We have crossing guards at all of our middle schools in the City of St. Pete. Our fiscal year budget (October 2018-October 2019) for crossing guards is $902,944.81."
City of Clearwater:
"We do have them for middle schools."
"Only elementary schools at this time."