Catholic board won’t share cost for crossing guards

At its monthly meeting here Saturday, the Northwest Catholic District School Board agreed to share information with the Town of Fort Frances regarding the need for crossing guards, but is not prepared to pay for them.
Back in January, the board had received a letter from the town, signed by Coun. Rick Wiedenhoeft, asking the board to help in the possible expansion of the crossing guard program.
“At the present time, the municipality provides only one crossing guard at the intersection of Scott Street and Crowe Avenue,” the letter read.
“It is the intention of council, after a thorough investigation, to provide crossing guards, within a limited scope, wherever they are necessary,” it added.
Coun. Wiedenhoeft asked the board to share information with the town to help in that investigation, including the catchment area for the board’s two schools in town, student flow patterns to and from school, and the numbers and ages of students who walk to school.
“To say that an extension of this service will mean significant tax dollars is an understatement,” the letter noted.
“It is my hope, therefore, that both boards of education might reconsider their position and make a commitment towards a partnership for this essential service,” Coun. Wiedenhoeft wrote.
The Rainy River District School Board received the same letter. At its meeting last month, the board also said it would share information with the town, but was not prepared to fund the crossing guard positions.
In a memo to trustees, Superintendent of Business Chris Howarth said the Catholic board has surveyed school administration to get their input on crossing guard locations.
It also has surveyed other boards in Northwestern Ontario to determine if they have received similar requests from municipalities.
While one board in Thunder Bay shares student information with the city, it has not been asked to provide financial assistance for the program, Howarth noted.
“No other boards have been faced with this issue,” his memo read.
“I will meet with the councillor and discuss what type of information they require, and give them whatever information we can,” Howarth told the board Saturday.
“Something the board cannot commit to is paying for crossing guards,” he added.
The board generally was in agreement with him.
Also at Saturday’s meeting, the Catholic board:
•passed a motion approving a transfer of $75,000 from its reserve for working funds to set up a Student Information System (SIS) as required by the Ministry of Education; and,
•passed a motion to use Good Places to Learn stage one funding on urgent and high-need projects approved by the ministry.