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SCHOOLS MAY HAVE TO FUND LOLLIPOP PATROLS; Calderdale cuts plans.

Byline: JOANNE DOUGLAS

LOLLIPOP men and ladies could soon be funded by schools.

Calderdale Council is considering cutting the service from its Highways budget.

Instead, schools may have to find the money out of their school budgets and fund and organise the school crossing patrols themselves.

Brighouse councillor Colin Stout said: "They want to transfer the road safety and school crossing patrols from Highways control to education which means that every school would have to make allowances for it in their budget.

"Some schools could ask teachers to run the service before and after school, others could ask for volunteers which is what the idea of the Big Society is all about."

Clr Stout said that as the Highway Code states, only authorised persons - a police officer, an official school crossing patrol or a traffic warden - can stop the flow of traffic.

It means teachers or volunteers at schools including Woodhouse Primary School and St Patrick's Catholic Primary would have to be given training to become authorised crossing patrols.

The idea is one of many changes proposed by Calderdale Council as they look to make budget changes. They are looking to save pounds 15m in 2011/12, a further pounds 22m in 2012/13 and pounds 28m in 2013/14.

Clr Stout added: "These school crossing patrols are there to ensure the safety of our children, what if a volunteer doesn't turn up? "Even if there does have to be changes it is crucial we get this right and we need safeguards in place to ensure safety is guaranteed for the children going to and from school on such busy roads."

One idea suggested was for the Highways budget to be reduced in line with the loss of the service and for funds to be provided.

The Brighouse councillor says that around pounds 200,000 could be transferred from Highways to education budgets to cover associated costs, but added: "They're just moving the money around so is there an actual saving?" The council's proposed budget report shows that to achieve a saving the restructuring would have to be in place by July 1 this year - towards the end of the school year.

A public meeting will take place tonight to give residents the chance to hear and comment on the budget changes.

It starts at 6pm at Rastrick High School, Field Top Lane.

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CASH CROSSING: The cost of lollipop patrols may be shifted from highways to education
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Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Jan 27, 2011
Words:409
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