Many students will recognize the crossing guards at some Janesville schools this fall because the kids have seen them in the classroom.
The school district will assign aides or teachers to take over crossing guard duties at six crossings, said school district spokesman Patrick Gasper.
The city has hired and supervised 16 crossing guards in the past, but it has been difficult to find people to do the job, said police Sgt. Aaron Ellis, who coordinates the program.
Gasper said Police Chief Dave Moore asked schools Superintendent Steve Pophal for help, resulting in the new arrangement.
Police will train the teachers and aides, who will guard children at crossings close to Adams, Lincoln, Madison, Monroe,Marshall, Washington and Wilson schools, officials said.
Police will continue to hire guards to handle 10 other crossings that are farther from schools, Ellis said. That number includes one school in the Milton School District that is in the city of Janesville, Harmony Elementary.
Ellis said part of the problem in filling the guard positions is the pay, $9 per shift, or $18 a day for those who do both the morning and afternoon shifts.
Each shift typically lasts about 30 minutes, Ellis said.
The guards are typically retired people, mostly women, who sometimes want to take time off for a vacation or are sick or have a doctor appointment, Ellis said.
“They’re really nice people, but it’s hard as they get older and older. It’s hard to find people who’ve been able to do it,” Ellis said.
When the district ran short, a police officer took over, usually either Ellis or a patrol officer whose shift starts around the time school lets out.
Ellis said second-shift patrol officers can have 15 or 20 calls waiting for them when they go on duty at 3 p.m., so that’s a bad time to pull someone away for crossing guard duty.
Now, Ellis said, he will have a pool of experienced guards to draw on to fill the 10 slots, so he expects less trouble.
Gasper said the district could incur added expense if an aide’s hours have to be extended for guard duty.
School starts Sept. 3.