City "urgently" needs more crossing guards
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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