MENASHA, Wis. (WBAY) – Wednesday some students went to school a little differently, taking part in International Walk to School Day.
The increased number of children walking meant crossing guards were even more appreciated.
But Menasha is having a hard time filling crossing guard positions.
Typically it has five crossing guards stationed at different intersections. Right now it has four.
Menasha Police hire the crossing guards but didn’t receive much interest. It started looking in the beginning of August and near the start of the school year. The department raised the hourly rate of the position from $8.50 to $11.
The position is still vacant, though police are confident they will fill it.
Until someone is hired, a community service officer is stepping in.
“It’s one of those things we know we need to do, so it’s really what it takes away from other things,” Police Chief Timothy Styka said. “We’d rather have the officer available to look for more traffic violations or other concerns that are in those schools zones instead of having that officer have to be a cross guard.”
We checked with other communities about the need for crossing guards. Down the road, Appleton has 29 full-time crossing guards. It hired two new crossing guards this year and had 20 applicants.
“We really appreciate that we have people in our community that are willing to step up and apply for those jobs,” David Lund with the Appleton Police Department said.
Appleton pays its guards $12.82 an hour.
Neenah’s 18 crossing guards get $15 an hour. It filled three positions this year with just five applicants.
“It is a lot to ask of someone to come in the morning for a little bit of time and then come in during the afternoon for a little bit of time, and that cuts your day completely,” Edward Gonzalez, Neenah Police Department, said, “so people that want to do it, really want to do it.”
All three departments said the passion they see from their crossing guards makes a great impact on the community.