NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- New York City crossing guards held a rally with officials Monday morning to protest the cutting of hundreds of positions.
There are currently about 2,200 crossing guards throughout NYC, but the plan is to cut about 200 vacancies, and another 200 jobs that were to be made available.
The elimination of those positions will save $7.5 million from the $43 million budget for crossing guards, which falls under the NYPD.
Local 372 NYC Board of Education, which represents the crossing guards, DC 37, Transportation Alternatives, and other officials rallied outside the Tweed Courthouse in Lower Manhattan.
They say the positions should be filled as the crossing guards, DOE, and NYPD work together to protect the approximately 1 million children in the New York City public school system.
"The City's recent move to eliminate 18% of the full-strength School Crossing Guard workforce is dangerous- School Crossing Guards play an essential role in keeping students safe on their way to and from school, and preventing traffic accidents on the perimeter of school campuses," Local 372 said in part.
They noted that "a study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that school crossing guards reduce the risk of traffic accidents involving children by up to 80%, especially young children."
"If you look at the budget response by the community boards the number one request is more crossing guards, number one requests, now these are community boards that are voices and representatives for our communities," said Henry A. Garrido, DC 37 Executive Director.
"We need more crossing guards, not less," said NYC Councilmember Shaun Abreu. "But something that is often ignored is that crossing guards are community fixtures."
The city employs 2,219 crossing guards. The crossing guards make $18 to $20 an hour for a part-time 4-hour-a-day job.
Mayor Eric Adams' administration said removing vacancies is an efficient way to achieve savings.
"The Adams administration is laser-focused on keeping students safe - going to school in the morning, at school during the day, and going home in the afternoon," a spokesperson said. "There is a national labor shortage and that is making it harder for lots of people to hire. We always are working to fill positions, but removing vacancies is an efficient way to achieve savings. As with any agency, if the NYPD fills all budgeted positions for crossing guards, we will work with them to increase capacity."
The city also said that they have not laid any crossing guards off and additionally have redesigned 1,400 intersections to make them safer, completed hundreds of additional street redesigns near schools, and secured state legislation to turn on 24/7 speed cameras.
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