SOME MEMBERS INITIALLY BALK AT $35,000 CONTRIBUTION; APPROVES IT, 6-0
By Steven Tavares
When stuck between a rock and hard place, the San Leandro City Council unanimously approved sharing the cost of school crossing guards for a second consecutive year. Similar to last year, the council belatedly approved funding roughly half the cost of guards after leaving the expenditure out of their mid-summer fiscal budget. The city stand to be on the hook for roughly $35,000 this year.
San Leandro schools went without crossing guards for the first three months of last year’s school leading to sometimes raucous opposition towards both the city council and school board leading to a cost-sharing deal similarly approved Tuesday night. The city covered the cost of crossing guards until last year when the program was cut due to rising deficits. The council did not fund the program for this fiscal year amid some confusion among council members on whether it was included or not.
“It seems like last year, we said the same thing, ‘Ok, we’ll do it this time.’,” said Vice Mayor Ursula Reed.
“We continue to say, ‘Oh, Ok’ and it is eating away at our reserves, which are already low,” said Councilwoman Diana Souza. Although Souza says she is in favor of funding crossing guards she wanted to find expenditures for cutting to balance the other side of the ledger, which has become increasingly difficult with the rise of small factions in the city successfully rescuing their programs from trimming.