Beaumont Independent School District Superintendent Carrol Thomas caused a small panic in parents when he uttered “as of right now we will not have school crossing guards at our schools next year” during the district’s May school board meeting Thursday, May, 18.
According to Thomas, the city of Beaumont has been paying half of the expenses associated with school crossing guards and no longer wishes to do so.
“I did get a letter the city saying they are no longer going to do that,” Thomas said, before delivering the meat of the communication. “As of right now we will not have school crossing guards at our schools next year. That’s where we stand. I’m in the process of seeing what can be done in regards to that – talking with (BISD attorney) Melody Chappell.”
But in an interview with Beaumont City Manager Kyle Hayes, the city leader said the information given by Thomas might be a little off.“We sent them a letter and asked them to take over administering the (school crossing guard) program,” Hayes said. “Council hasn’t made a final decision on funding.”
According to Hayes, the city council has decided it would no longer like to be in control of administering the program, which includes hiring employees, training employees and staffing shifts. The decision has yet to be made whether the city will contribute half the funding to see the program function.
Hayes said the details of the arrangement still need to be ironed out, but as of Wednesday, May 23, BISD officials had yet to contact the city to sort out a game plan.
“We’re waiting to see if BISD accepts taking over the administration of the program,” Hayes said. “We started now to give them plenty of time to get this transitioned before school starts in August.”
Hayes said the move “has nothing to do with funding.” Instead, he asserts, “What happened was the council felt BISD should administer the program.”
Hayes said the city has been in charge of the program since at least 1986, although it is unclear why. The school crossing guard program, he added, employees 40 people part-time, with a budget last year of $174,152. BISD paid half the costs.
Jennifer Johnson can be reached at (409) 832-1400, ext. 231, or by e-mail at jennifer [at] theexaminer [dot] com.