Saanich, Victoria propose funding option for crossing guards in SD 61

Saanich, Victoria propose funding option for crossing guards in SD 61

Victoria and Saanich councils have sent letters to the Greater Victoria School District proposing a more permanent funding option for crossing guards.

The Greater Victoria Crossing Guard Association sent a notice that it would be ending its operations as of June 23, with no plan in place for another group to continue offering the service.

The District of Saanich sent a letter to the SD 61 school board suggesting setting up a model similar to in the Saanich School District, where the district operates a crossing guard program funded by participating municipalities.

In a Committee of the Whole meeting, Victoria council voted to send a similar letter to the district.

“I think this really is a win-win scenario. This has been a service that’s been funded by the city and the District of Saanich for many years,” Mayor Lisa Helps said in the COTW meeting on July 14.

“This is, I think, a way to get the crossing guard program stably funded in perpetuity and hope our partners at School District 61 are willing to work with both the District [of Saanich] and the city to receive the funding and continue the services.”

Coun. Ben Isitt proposed a motion to have staff report back on Aug. 4 on the response from the school district.

“I think we do need to advocate for our partners at School District 61 to deploy this service in time for the resumption of classes in September,” Isitt said.

“If for some reason we get a firm no from the school district, I think the city either needs to deploy its own employees to provide the service or needs to provide the funds to a community partner to ensure that there’s no interruption of service.”

In the July 4 council meeting where Saanich discussed the crossing guard funding, Coun. Colin Plant said the Traffic Advisory Committee had looked at the Saanich School District’s crossing guard program and thought it would be beneficial to implement in the Greater Victoria School District as well.

“Those crossing guard positions at Saanich schools are performed by CUPE members, and therefore are hours that are usually added to someone’s contract at the beginning and end of the day,” Plant said.

“Our belief as the committee, and we would ask council to consider as well, is asking the City of Victoria and the school district 61 to consider a similar mechanism so that there is stability to crossing guards.”

Laura BroughamLaura Brougham

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