Aug 4, 2022 - News

City "urgently" needs more crossing guards

Illustration of the words "Hiring" making a pedestrian crosswalk.
Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

City officials still need to fill dozens of crossing guard jobs for Austin ISD and surrounding districts before the school year begins later this month.

The big picture: Just over 150 crossing guards are employed in the Austin area, but the city needs an additional 55 to meet the demand of AISD and six bordering independent school districts, a city spokesperson told Axios.

  • AISD begins its school year on Aug. 15.

Why it matters: Crossing guards are often stationed at busy intersections to help children safely cross the street.

  • Not to mention they slow down those wild Austin drivers. (Yes, we see y'all speeding through school zones.)

Details: The city's hourly rate for crossing guards is $15 per hour, and applicants must be able to "walk or stand in adverse weather conditions, including extreme heat, cold, rain, thunderstorms" — still interested? — plus, "push or pull a child weighing up to 100 pounds when necessary."

  • Crossing guards work roughly 12.5 hours per week.

What they're saying: "I urge people to apply for the available jobs to help our children safely walk and bike to and from school," Mayor Steve Adler said in a statement. "There is no more important public service than ensuring the safety of our children."

Of note: At least 20 children must cross the intersection during school zone hours to warrant a crossing guard.

  • The city's Safe Routes to School Crossing Guard Program also considers traffic volume, speed, line of sight issues, location history and the ratio of adults to children crossing the intersection.
  • Roughly 200 intersections in the Austin area currently warrant a crossing guard, according to city officials.

Between the lines: The city has struggled to fill jobs amid a nationwide labor shortage and as Austin's cost of living continues to rise.

  • A person must earn at least $27.58 an hour to comfortably make rent for a two-bedroom apartment in the Austin-Round Rock metro area, per a housing report published last summer.
  • Local school districts have faced similar challenges with teacher shortages.

Zoom out: Other cities across the country, including Tampa Bay and Chicago, are also struggling to find enough crossing guards.

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to show crossing guards work an average of 12.5 hours per week (not 2.5 hours per week).

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