Months after the city's red light camera program ended, there's some disagreement over how to spend the more than $300,000 in leftover funds.
That money helped pay for crossing guards at CCISD and Flour Bluff ISD schools, but some city council members believe the city should have stopped paying for that last school year.
“Their most valuable asset is the children and their safety,” said council member Carolyn Vaughn. “They should be paying for the crossing guards.”
For nearly a decade, those crossing guards were paid with funds generated from tickets issued through red light cameras. But those cameras were turned off in April, as was their revenue stream.
“It was my understanding they were going to pay for it this year because we've already stopped the red light camera,” Vaughn said. “And to be honest with you, I think they should have paid for them all along.”
Vaughn points to the fact CCISD is the city's largest taxing entity. Plus, other districts inside city limits pay for their own crossing guards.
“Tuloso-Midway, Calallen, and West Oso are not included in that,” said Vaughn. “You can't pick and choose the schools you're going to fund, either you fund them all or you don't fund any.”
CCISD Police Chief Kirby Warnke told KRIS 6 News the city gave CCISD notice last spring that money for crossing guards was ending, but the city would pay through the 2017-18 school year.
Vaughn and other councilors remember things a different way, but there's nothing they can do as kids need to be kept safe.
“I certainly want them to have crossing guards, but I think they should pay for it,” Vaughn said. “Not the city.”
Vaughn added crossing guards would have been a better use of CCISD's money than the mascot change underway at Hamlin Middle School. Councilor Paulette Guajardo suggested the city could have bought protective vests for police with the more than $300,000 left-over, but the money can only be used for traffic enforcement.
This all becomes moot next fall with the red light camera fund exhausted.
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