Dallas looking for other ways to fund school crossing guards

The city of Dallas will have to come up with the money to pay the crossing guards who get thousands of kids safely to and from school each day.

In February, Mayor Mike Rawlings went before county commissioners to plead with them to add a $1.50 fee to vehicle registrations. Now, that idea seems to be dead.

FOX 4 has learned the Dallas County District Attorney's Office told the county it can't put the $1.50 fee for school crossing guards on the ballot. It's strictly a decision that county commissioners would need to make. 

School crossing guards earn just over $10 an hour to make sure kids are safe when they cross the street to go school. Their salary adds up to $4 million a year.

Dallas County Schools used to pay for crossing guards before voters decided to dissolve the agency filled with problems in November.

Rawlings told county commissioners in February that the city needs the county to approve the $1.50 vehicle registration fee to pay for the crossing guards.

County Judge Clay Jenkins told FOX 4 that if the county can't put it on the ballot, the county commission doesn't have the political will to add a fee to drivers.

It’s something that is frustrating to Callas City Councilman Philip Kingston.

“The main issue is we've got to get kids to school safely. Kids are in danger when they go to school because of automobiles,” Kingston said. “So it is fair to charge a very small fee to automobile issues to keep kids safe on their way to school.” 

“I don't support putting a tax on people without them having a chance to talk about it because it goes to the city of Dallas. But it would be all the cities, whether you lived in Garland, you would pay the tax,” Jenkins said. “It's only fair that the people in Carrollton and DeSoto and other places would get to vote on a fee that goes largely to one city.”

The fee would go to DISD and the other district schools in the city of Dallas because only cities with more than 850,000 residents are required to pay for crossing guards.

Dallas already cut 30 crossing guard positions in lower traffic areas for the upcoming school year. Jenkins says he is going to speak with the DA and the city attorney to regroup and see if there is some other way that they can bring this issue before voters.