Crossing guards

Crossing guards help Badger Ridge Middle School students traverse North Main Street on Jan. 6. The service, previously run by the Verona Police Department, is now under private management.

The California based company that provides crossing guard services to Verona has gotten its contract extended through 2021.

All City Management Services Inc.’s original contract with Verona ran from Jan. 2 to Dec. 31, 2020. The council unanimously passed a revised agreement Sept. 14 with a new term from Sept. 1, 2020 to Dec. 31, 2021.

The revised agreement is $22,883 less than the original agreement, even with crossing guards receiving a 2.5% hourly rate increase, according to the council meeting notes.

The company, which bills itself as the nation’s largest provider of school crossing guards, picked up the recruitment and management duties in January that the Verona Police Department had previously been responsible for.

Verona police chief Bernie Coughlin told the Press in January the problem of insufficient coverage for crossing guards had been going on for several years, often forcing the police department to step in and pay overtime to staff.

The issue became more urgent in 2019, when a 12 year old was hit by a car on the way to an after school program at Badger Ridge Middle School. The police department increased its presence at that crossing and others at the council’s direction, leading to significant increases in overtime pay.

Ald. Kate Cronin (Dist. 3) told the council the Verona Police Department reported the crossing guard company has worked out well and there have been fewer times with insufficient coverage.

Contact Mackenzie Krumme at mackenzie.krumme@wcinet.com.