City to privatize crossing guards

A crossing guard at work near Dewey Elementary School this fall. (Jan Smith photo)

Evanston aldermen tonight are scheduled to approve a contract that would make the city's crossing guards employees of Aurora-based Andy Frain Services.

Assistant City Manager Erika Storlie says current crossing guards would keep their $20 an hour pay rate in the switch and that the company will seek to hire Evanston residents to fill vacancies.

The city now provides crossing guards at 52 locations around town, serving Districts 65 and 202 and three private schools.

Storlie says the city now spends $442,000 directly for pay and equipment for the guards and incurs about $33,000 in indirect costs for supervision and hiring replacements, with about a quarter of the guard staff turning over annually.

In addition the city spends about $35,000 to assign parking enforcement officers to fill in for crossing guards who call in sick.

She says that with the extra ticket revenue the parking enforcement officers should be able to bring in once they're freed up from crossing guard duty -- estimated at $260,000 for next year -- she expects the city will save money by contracting out the service, after paying the $621,000 cost of the contract with Andy Frain.

Storlie says area communities including Glenview, Glencoe, Mount Prospect, Oak Park and Wheeling have contracted out their crossing guard services to private firms in recent years.

With two one-hour shifts per school day, Storlie says crossing guards typically make $7,300 a year. Storlie has said that under the deal with Frain, the guards could be eligible to pick up additional work at other locations where Frain provides security services.

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