Long term solution in the works for Kingsport crossing guard staffing issue

KINGSPORT, TN (WJHL) – A long term solution is on the way to fix staffing issues for a critical job that keeps children safe.

The Kingsport police department says staffing school crossing guards has been a big problem for years, but now KPD and school leaders are working together to more permanently solve the issue.

The Kingsport police department and Kingsport City Schools board approved a memorandum of understanding, which will now allow KPD to contract with an outside vendor to staff crossing guards. It is a big step, they say, toward making sure staffing is no longer an issue.

“Our board did approve a memorandum of understanding with the Kingsport Police Department and Kingsport City Schools that would kind of outline a structure where a contracted company would be the provider of those crossing guards moving forward,” said Andy True, KCS Assistant Superintendent.

It’s a move to find a long term solution to a years-long school crossing guard staffing problem.

“Rather than us having to constantly deal with personnel issues, an outside contractor will take on that responsibility and will guarantee staffing from this point forward,” said KPD’s Tom Patton.

As part of the MOU, Kingsport City Schools will transfer $20,000 annually to the effort.

And with both teachers and police officers previously filling the gaps, Patton said, “Rather than be on our feet in a cross walk where we can do no enforcement capability, we’re going to be out in our cars where we can actually patrol the school zones and enforce violations.”

“We really wanted to work together to figure out what that long term solution was to provide the safest environment for our students,” True said.

KPD said several parties still have to sign the memorandum of understanding. Once it’s signed, the department can send a contract out for bid.

The department is hoping to have a private company in place by the beginning of next school year.

Copyright 2018 WJHL. All rights reserved.

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