And then there were three.
With one of four crossing guards hired and on the job the first day of school, Springwater Township still has three crossing guard positions open. The township hopes to have the remaining crossing guards on the job by Oct.2
The deadline for applications for the part-time contract positions was Aug. 31. Interviews are scheduled to take place Sept. 6 with staff scheduled to provide council with a verbal update at tomorrow’s regularly scheduled council meeting at the Springwater Administration Centre starting at 6:30 p.m.
The township is also trying to recruit two substitute crossing guards who would be scheduled on-call in the event of a sick call or any time-off required.
“Should the township not be successful in recruiting substitute crossing guards, by-law enforcement staff would be required to cover crossing guard shifts in the event of a sick call or time-off request,” wrote Renee Ainsworth, manager of legislative services for Springwater wrote in her staff options report to council.
She noted it was not an ideal backup plan but one that needed to be addressed.
“It is important to note that once a municipality establishes a crossing location, it is imperative that coverage be provided on all school days. Not providing coverage can lead to liability concerns for the township should an incident occur.”
At the Aug. 2 meeting of council, it was decided that a crossing guard would be reinstated at one location in Hillsdale and crossing guards would be implemented at three new locations.
Penetanguishene Rd. and Albert St. in Hillsdale has been reinstated after being eliminated in June.
Yonge St. S and Houden St., Queen St. E and Simcoe St. in Elmvale as well as Finlay Mill Rd. and Belmont Cres. in Midhurst are new.
While the original estimate to cover the salaries and benefits of the four crossing guard positions was tagged at about $100,000 annually, staff have provided Springwater council with a variety of options to consider - ranging from a low end of $50,231.89 to a high end of $110,314.55.
Staff provided costs based on a number of variables.
Based on a $33 per hour rate, for services before and after school including lunch time services, the annual cost would be $110,314.55.
Based on a $33 per hour rate, for services before and after school only, the annual cost would be $62,947.63
Based on a $25.58 per hour rate (proposed non-union/management salary grid), for services before and after school, including lunch time services, the total cost would be $87,751.44
Based on a $25.58 per hour rate (proposed non-union/management salary grid), for services before and after school only, the annual cost would be $50,231.89
According to the staff report, the lunchtime services may not be required.
In Hillsdale, the report said, only Grade 7 and 8 pupils from the school are permitted to leave during lunch hour. Forest Hill Public School has said a lunchtime crossing would not be necessary. Our Lady of Lourdes said pupils can’t leave the school at lunchtime. Staff were unable to speak with Huronia Centennial.
The $10 per day stand-by rate for the substitute crossing guards would cost the township $1,940.00 per substitute guard, per year.
The previous crossing guard compensation, set in 2020, was $33 per hour, or a flat rate of $100 per day for three (3) hours per day, which included before school, lunchtime and after school crossing.
Crossing guard salaries across the county averaged between the minimum wage of $15.50 to $18 per hour.
Noting that recruitment for crossing guards is difficult, Springwater opted for a more competitive wage to entice applicants.
All hired crossing guards, and key township staff, will be trained for the position. Training will include a lecture, written test, practical training and evaluation.
In addition to the salary and benefits for the crossing guards, there are additional costs for equipment and training. These costs are estimated at $6000 for 2023 and include signs, pilons, whistles, clothing (safety vest, rain gear and winter gear) and training.
Wayne Doyle, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, BarrieToday.com