Parents asked to pay for school crossing patrols in Staffordshire
Parents have been told they will have to pay for school crossing patrols after Staffordshire County Council proposed tough cost-cutting measures.
The local authority needs to save £35 million by next year and wants to stop paying for patrols to save money.
Instead it wants to see more ‘community funded patrols’ operate in Staffordshire and expand on the authority’s current small number.
Helen Fisher, Staffordshire County Council’s cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “We have seen the cost of care soar by more than £100m in the last 10 years and we must now tackle a £35m shortfall in our budget.
“This means we have no choice but to consider which non-statutory services we can continue to fund and very reluctantly this includes the school crossing patrol service.
“The patrols are all wonderful and I do hope that communities will step forward to keep as many of them as possible in the county.”
However these plans - tabled by the controlling Conservative administration - have been criticised by opposition councillors who believe children, parents and staff 'will be put in danger'.
Labour country councillor Ron Clarke said: “In some areas of the county, children can cross roads safely without the use of crossing patrols, where there are traffic lights. But in some other areas that is not case and it is dangerous.
"I am not blaming the council for the need to make cuts, it is the Government which we should be looking at for its austerity.
"When will it come to an end, when there is nothing left to cut in communities? Enough is enough."
A public consultation is running to the end of the year.
Parents, teachers and the general public can have their say by visiting the council’s website.
A council spokesman said: “People can find out more about the proposals and have their say until December 31.”
There is also a fundraising pack online at www.staffordshire.gov.uk/patrols.
Council bosses will review the consultation once it is complete and formulate their plans early next year.
The final proposals for the council’s budget will be presented in February to full council.