GCPS to assume operations of crossing guard program

SUWANEE — Gwinnett County Public Schools will assume full operation of the crossing guard program this August.

“The county quit paying for this two years ago and they really wanted to get out of the operation of it,” Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks told the Gwinnett County Board of Education on Thursday.

Currently, the school system pays the Gwinnett County Police Department $257,373 to manage the program, which includes the employment of 21 crossing guards to cover 29 school locations. Associate Superintendent Steve Flynt said the school system will be able to operate the program at a savings of $45,000.

According to state law, the police department does not have to provide this service, and in June 2010, the police department told the school system it would stop managing the program in the 2011-12 school year, Flynt said.

“We have developed a plan to manage this program,” Flynt said.

The school system conducted an analysis of the 29 school sites that receive crossing guard services and found only 26 needed a guard. The three schools that have been cut from the program at this time include Simpson, Hopkins and Britt elementary schools.

Sloan Roach, spokeswoman for Gwinnett County Public Schools, said the district will revisit the three schools in the fall to reassess the need for a crossing guard.

Gwinnett County Public Schools will hire a part-time school resource officer to serve as supervisor and trainer for the crossing guard program.

Current crossing guards will be able to re-apply for the positions. Prospective crossing guards will be interviewed in June, and those chosen for the positions will begin training in July.