By Mario Conde
The Calexico City Council approved Measure “H” funding for 2012-13 School Crossing Guard Program in the amount of $140,000.
The item was placed on the City Council agenda recommended by the Measure “H” Commission back in September when they approved the request from the Calexico Unified School District to fund the crossing guard program which the City has been supporting since 2011. Calexico Unified Superintendent Maria Ambriz reminded the Measure “H” Commission back in September that the crossing guards not only assist students in crossing with heavy traffic, but they also assist adults.
During last Tuesday’s Calexico City Council meeting, the request to fund the Crossing Guard Program was before the Council. Former Councilman Guillermo Hermosillo said he didn’t support this proposal since he said this was like “Robin giving to the rich.”
“Why does Calexico that has an $18 million budget is giving money to a District has a $70 million budget? If they (The District) can’t handle it they should turn it over to the police and have them pay the Department for the crossing people.” Hermosillo said and asked the Council to return this to the Measure “H” Commission for further review. Hermosillo was appointed by Mayor Pro Tem Bill Hodge to the Measure “H” commission for last meeting.
Calexico resident Oscar Gonzalez agreed with Hermosillo and questioned how much money was on the Measure “H” commission fund. He also suggested the Council that instead of having crossing guards they can partner with ROP or One Stop Employment Services to hire 16 people that can work as cross guards and can work to hope City government open on Friday’s again.
Mayor Pro Tem Bill Hodge said he will support the funding for the Crossing Guards but asked as to why the District has to come back every year. Councilman John Moreno said the District was in a financial crisis last year and would like the City to meet with District officials about what are they going to do for the next few years.
The Council approved the funding for this year with a vote of 3-1 with Councilman Luis Castro casting the dissenting vote. Councilman Joong Kim left the Council Chambers during this discussion since it was a conflict of interest for him to participate in this item.