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Wirral head teachers reject council's call to pay for lollipop patrols
3:13pm Tuesday 11th February 2014 in News
WIRRAL schools have sounded a resounding raspberry at council plans to start charging from lollipop crossing patrols.
The local authority claims it can no longer afford to provide the patrols - and sent a letter saying so to 92 head teachers, asking for their views.
The majority replied that they did not agree with charging, or did not respond at all – the letter states it would be assumed no response means the school does not support the suggestion.
Liberal Democrat councillor Stuart Kelly said: “This has been an ill-thought out policy from the beginning - and now the schools themselves have overwhelmingly rejected it.”
“I call on the Labour cabinet, at its budget setting meeting on Wednesday, to listen to Wirral’s schools, drop the policy and guarantee funding for school crossing patrols for the future.
“Should they decide to press ahead in the face of this opposition, it would make a mockery of the claim that the council wants to work in partnership with schools”
The town hall is seeking “collective agreement” from all schools to share the £415,000 annual cost and asked them to dip into school budgets to pay for the service.
It warns that failure to do so would either mean contributing schools paying more, or crossing patrols being removed “from the points no longer supported by the schools concerned.”
More than 57% of schools rejected the option with only 28% saying they would agree to the charge.
The letter, signed by the council’s environment and regulation chief, Mark Smith, told school heads: “Even though the school crossing patrol service is a non-statutory service which the council can no longer afford to provide, it is hoped that the schools which currently benefit from the service will be willing to enter into a service arrangement with the local authority to enable the service to continue in its current form.”
The move is part of cost-cutting proposals introduced to bridge an £80m funding gap over the next three years.