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Penn Hills crossing guard numbers remain, equipment reduced

| Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

After taking a look at Penn Hills intersections regulated by school crossing guards, Penn Hills police and school district officials decided to make no change in the number of guards.

This past April that there was a “mutual desire” between police and district officials to make changes with the 79 guards who work two daily 90-minute shifts at bus stops throughout Penn Hills, school district Business Director Richard Liberto said.

Police Chief Howard Burton, however, said recently that no changes have been made to the number of guards or intersections.

“It wasn't a formal study,” Burton said. “Just more or less a brainstorming session looking at the number of students at the stops and the traffic during certain times of day.”

Burton said that there has been a change in the amount of equipment guards are issued, less than in the past.

Crossing guards are a unique group in Penn Hills: they are hired by the municipality and are part of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union, but they negotiate their contract with the school district, and their cost is split equally between the municipality and school district.

Previous attempts to reduce the number of crossing guards have been unsuccessful.

During the municipal budget process heading into 2005, the guard positions were scheduled to be reduced, but ultimately were not. During a particularly difficult budget process in 2008, the idea of cutting the guards completely was floated, but not carried out.

Patrick Varine is an editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7845 or pvarine@tribweb.com.

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