Student safety remains in question across the Milwaukee area as municipalities figure out plans for crossing guards in their school districts.
It comes after the company they contracted with, Wisconsin Personal Protection Services, went out of business during the weekend.
The eight districts impacted by the crossing guard supplier are working hard to remedy the problem including in Waukesha, where they may have a fix as soon as Tuesday night.
Crossing guards are a necessity to Hanna Bakken, especially around Bethesda Elementary School in Waukesha, where she always sees kids walking to and from school, and cars speeding by.
“Without them, I’m sure children would not arrive safely to school,” Bakken said. “Cars do not always see children crossing, and they may be blinded by the sun.”
However, districts are discovering it’s not easy to fill these positions after Wisconsin Personal Protection Services shut down over the weekend without any notice.
Right now in Waukesha, school staff and police are taking over the city’s 17 spots, but local officials are already working on a contract with a national provider called All City Management Services.
The draft is written, and they hope to approve it at a Common Council meeting Tuesday night.
“The idea would be to hire as many of the existing guards as possible. We understand Waukesha is going to try to hire them temporarily, and then we would rehire those folks,” Harlan Sims of All City Management Services said.
The company has been around for 33 years and employs more than 6,000 crossing guards across about 21 states. In Wisconsin, they work with Sun Prairie and Appleton.
“The idea would be to hire as many of the existing guards as possible. We understand Waukesha is going to try to hire them temporarily, and then we would rehire those folks.” — Harlan Sims of All City Management Services
Sims said they would only hire people from the local community, and their salaries would increase by a few dollars.
“For that particular area we’re looking anywhere from $12 to $13 per hour,” Sims said.
While the city has the funds to pay the company for the rest of this school year, it would need to increase the 2020 budget by $25,000, and it would take about three to four weeks to get things up and running.
“We may not be able to staff all of the sites immediately if we were to start in a short time frame,” Sims said.
Sims also shared that they’ve had preliminary discussions with Shorewood, West Allis, South Milwaukee, Cudahy and Menomonee Falls.
To apply for a part-time position in Waukesha, click here.
— Covering most of crossing guard locations with city staff this week
— Short-term plan for rest of year is hiring crossing guards (especially those who worked for Wisconsin Personal Protection Services) and community members. Some parents or others connected with the schools offer to volunteer
— Long-term possibility is bid to a crossing guard service
— Anyone who may want to be a crossing guard can stop by Wauwatosa City Hall to apply or call Human Resources at 414-479-8954
— Have hired about eight temporary crossing guards
— Total guards for city is 34
West Allis-West Milwaukee
— Have been staffing intersections with police employees and not school staff
— Reaching out to other city employees to help get through rest of the week
— Possibility for rest of the school year is reaching out to former WPPS crossing guards and come to some sort of agreement
— Another possibility is for the city to hire its own crossing guards
— Not soliciting citizen volunteers now
— Still working on a long-term solution possibly contracting with another company or rehiring former WPPS guards in the long term
— A few formerly employed crossing guards have been showing up to man their intersections but not at city’s request
— 18 guards
— Crossing guards who have worked in the village with WPPS are volunteering this week
— Next week planning to hire them as part-time employees in the village so that they have coverage for rest of school year
— Exploring other options for long term could be anything from hiring a different firm to maintaining own crossing guards
— 10 guards
— Plan for the rest of the school year is reaching out to prior crossing guards from WPPS to rehire but opening up to other applicants
— Still working on long-term plan
— 11 guards
— To apply to be a crossing guard in Shorewood, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
— Staffing locations with mix of police officers, street department workers, volunteers and others who are being paid
— Still have locations going unstaffed, but they’re continuing to look for volunteers
— School district began hiring former WPPS crossing guards directly Tuesday morning
— City police department and school district have been working behind the scenes
— Started contracting with WPPS this school year and realized early on that they would need to hire their own crossing guards for the next school year
— Process had already started
— DPW and police are manning crossing guard locations
— Plan to have their own crossing guards in before the end of the week
— Nine guards