The Coast News Group
The city has been considering a pilot crossing guard program at the corner of Balour Drive and Melba Road. Courtesy photo
Cities Community Encinitas

Crossing Guard program gets Encinitas Council nod

ENCINITAS — City Council unanimously threw its support behind the concept of a pilot crossing guard program at a pair of local schools, and at least one of the city’s two school districts appears to be on board.

City Council members voted May 15 to authorize city staff to continue negotiating with the Encinitas Union School District and the San Dieguito Union High School District on the pilot program.

San Dieguito officials, however, told city staff they aren’t committing any funds for crossing guards, but outgoing Encinitas Union Superintendent Tim Baird said that his district is receptive to the proposal.

“Obviously it would need to come to our board, but we are very interested in the proposal,” Baird said. “In concept I think it’s a great idea, and we would welcome further conversations on this.”

The city and school district are likely looking into a cost-sharing arrangement similar to the one the city of Solana Beach and Solana Beach School District implemented last summer.

Solana Beach contracts with a company that provides four guards for four-hour shifts daily at an hourly rate of $20.57.Under the agreement with the school district, the city pays 35%, or $20,735 annually, and the district pays the remaining $38,507.

The city has zeroed in on the Balour Drive and Melba Road intersection, which is used heavily by students at Ocean Knoll Elementary, San Dieguito High School Academy, Oak Crest Middle School and several private preschools, and a busy intersection near Park Dale Lane Elementary School.

Council members asked the city to work with the district to create a method of assessing the program’s effectiveness.

City staff, as part of its research, learned that various cities and districts have different agreements for administering and paying for crossing guards.

Encinitas Union School District hires “safety monitors” to assist with valet/student pick-up and drop-off at each of their five campuses. Capri, Flora Vista and Park Dale Lane each have one monitor in the morning and afternoon safety monitors.

The monitors are paid for by the district, the school site and the parent teachers association. At Cardiff and San Dieguito Union High School District, staff members monitor students as they leave campus.

Oceanside and Vista have programs similar to Solana Beach, Carlsbad covers the crossing guard program entirely, and San Marcos does not have a crossing guard program, according to a city staff report.