Carpentersville panel: Cut crossing guards

Five Carpentersville crossing guards could be out of a job in June — unless the village board has a sudden change of heart.

The village’s Audit and Finance Commission voted 4-3 Thursday to stop paying for the crossing guards at the end of the current school year.

The recommendation now goes to the village board for consideration on April 19, although it is unlikely funding for the guards will be restored, as a solid majority of the board is against it.

Village President Ed Ritter, a former teacher and principal, spoke in dissent Thursday: “I’m really concerned that something serious is going to happen. My conscience is not going to allow me to vote against (restoring the crossing guards to the budget.)”

But Ritter said it would be pointless to try to persuade his board colleagues — who were all present and voiced their opinions Thursday — again on April 19.

“It’s 5-2,” Ritter said. “There’s no sense in putting it out there to be defeated again.”

If the board approves the commission’s recommendation, Carpentersville will no longer pay for four crossing guards in Community Unit District 300 and one in Barrington Unit District 220.

Barb Sances, one of the guards who will be out of a job if the measure passes, said she was willing to sacrifice to keep her job.

“I’m willing to take a cut in pay for the safety of the kids,” Sances said. “I’m willing to go back to minimum wage.”

But trustees who supported cutting the positions said they had to do it to balance the budget.

“Often when you have little children, they become the hostages in the argument,” Trustee Pat Schultz said. “It’s not about the kids. … We’re going to have to start making crucial cuts.”

Carpentersville officials estimate cutting the guards will save $40,000 from next year’s budget and $56,000 a year in subsequent years.

If the board approves the measure, the burden of paying crossing guards will fall on the school districts or police department — both of which are already stretched thin after deep budget cuts.

“There’s things we can do to increase our presence there, but I can’t guarantee officers will be at the schools,” Carpentersville Police Chief David Neumann said,

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