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Hillsborough Sheriff previews plan to put crossing guards at every middle school in the county

Sheriff calling for 144 crossing guards at middle schools
Posted at 4:09 PM, Mar 29, 2019

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — Preliminary information on what it would take to put grossing guards at over 100 middle schools in Hillsborough County has been released.

The proposal outlines a $1 million annual budget for the sheriff's office to put guards at all 144 middle schools. This also includes 24 field supervisors.

The proposal is set to go before county comissioners next week.

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Commissioners also requested that county staff review what capital improvements need to be made outside of middle schools in unincorporated Hillsborough County.

Staff with public works estimates they would need $500,000 to complete infrastructure improvements that would include crosswalks markings, flashing beacons, ramps and signage.

Sheriff Chad Chronister and Commissioner Stacy White announced in early February that they want to expand the crossing guard program after parents at Mulrennan Middle School raised their own money to put a crossing guard outside the school.

"I am committed to student safety whether on campus or on the way to campus. To me, it is the highest of priorities," said Sheriff Chad Chronister. "I am really happy to see the middle school crossing guard project beginning to take form and I am grateful for the County Commission's leadership on this issue."

The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office runs the crossing guard program for all elementary schools in the district. They have long said they don't have the staffing or funds to expand.

"We have a responsibility to do what it takes to keep our kids safe," said Sheriff Chronister last month. "Ensuring the safety of our children is an important priority for everyone in this county."

Meanwhile, as county commissioners wait to hear the proposal, a third middle school in Hillsborough County is hiring their own crossing guard.

Parents with the PTSA at Randall Middle School have hired one crossing guard to help students get across Fishhawk Blvd in Lithia.

This comes nearly two weeks after a student from Newsome High School was hit in the area that students walk.

PTSA President Terri Fischer said the crossing guard will be there for the remainder of the school year.

Commissioners will vote to approve some of the money next week to start the funding to start the hiring and training process for crossing guards next school year.

ABC Action News reached out to the sheriff's office about the number of crossing guards at each school, but they say they're still working to determine how many each school would need.

Commissioners will vote on the proposal next week at county commission.