Fears over future of lollipop patrols
The future of all school crossing patrols is in doubt – as part of county council plans to save another £1m.
County Hall bosses are proposing to remove all of the £1.5m they spend on lollipop men and women as they attempt to balance the books.
Originally, £500,000 had been pulled out of the funding for crossing patrols, with schools having to find half of the £4,000 annual cost.
But now the cash-strapped council has said it could remove all of the money available if budget proposals are approved this week.
The decision comes just days after it was revealed that the number of children killed or seriously injured on Lancashire’s roads had increased.
Facebook user Michelle Page said in response to the funding issue: “Our lollipop man mans a pelican crossing but he does an amazing job!
“The amount of parents and kids that dart across without thinking to walk a few more steps is shocking but I hear him on a daily basis telling the children advice on how to stay safe by the road. Please don’t take that away!”
Headteachers have raised fears over the changes to funding, saying they may force some schools to have to choose between crossing patrols and classroom staff.
Headteacher of Skerton St Lukes Primary School in Lancaster said: “It’s really sad it has to be done - we understand that cuts have to be made but this is a valuable resource.
“Schools do do a lot to teach children to be safe on the roads. If county or schools couldn’t fund the patrols it has a big knock-on effect.
“I’m really sad it has come down to this.”
A £500,000 saving on what Lancashire County Council spends on crossing patrols was agreed at last year’s budget, but in December it was proposed that the council would save all of the £1.5m spent each year. Tory Leader Coun Geoff Driver slammed the cuts as “entirely unacceptable”.
Schools will not be asked to fund the full cost of crossing patrols from their individual budgets, Lancashire County Council’s finance chief has confirmed.
County Coun David Borrow, deputy leader and finance portfolio holder said: “It is not, and never has been, Cabinet’s intention to ask schools to fund the full cost of school crossing patrols from their own budgets. Discussions remain ongoing.
At the meeting of full council on Thursday, February 12, I will be recommending that there is no change in the current position in 2015/16.”