Norden Councillor, Peter Winkler has started an online petition amidst growing anger that dozens of primary and secondary schools across Rochdale Borough will be forced to find £4,000 each year to pay for crossing patrols, or face losing them altogether.
The cuts in funding for the crossing patrols have come after Council Cabinet Members voted to cut financial support for services at 35 schools in a ‘behind closed doors’ meeting. Schools will now be told that they must pay the Council to provide the service, provide the service themselves or lose their crossing patrol.
Parents have reacted angrily to the cuts, but schools say that they cannot comment as they have been given a ten-day gagging order from the Council preventing them from speaking about the matter.
Councillor Winkler said “Schools already have to balance demanding budgets in order to deliver high standards of education. Schools should not be made responsible for the safety of children outside the school grounds, before school starts and after school has finished. Highways safety is the responsibility of the Council and passing the buck to schools will mean that thousands of children and parents will be left to take their chances on increasingly busy roads.”
“As a parent, a Councillor and a school Governor I can see all sides of the argument, but we can’t put the safety of our children on the balance sheet. For the Council to suddenly announce that over 30 crossing patrols are no longer needed is an incredible claim and it is understandable that parents are outraged.”
“This move has put schools in an impossible position, they really want to keep children safe, but their budgets are limited. For the Council’s Cabinet Member for schools to say that £4,000 isn’t ‘mega-bucks’ for a school to find given the size of their budgets and reserves and to tell Governors that they need to look at the bigger picture is an absolute an insult.”
Parents, staff and concerned members of the public are being urged to sign an online petition asking Rochdale Council leaders to reverse the decision and reinstate funding for all crossing patrols across the borough. You can sign the petition at: http://chng.it/CYrKpJYWSG