Dallas County voters will decide in November whether to add a $1.50 on vehicle registrations to help pay for school crossing guards.
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings asked Dallas County Commissioners to approve the fee Tuesday.
“I come before you humbly today and ask for your help as we prepare to take this on, something you can do and we can’t do,” Rawlings told Commissioners.
The City of Dallas has agreed to pay for crossing guards again after transferring the responsibility to bus agency Dallas County Schools in 2012.
DCS accepted crossing guards in return for city support of a bus stop arm camera citations program.
Now, DCS is closing after a year of reports by NBC 5 Investigates on the scandal surrounding the camera program. The bus agency refused to keep paying the crossing guards after January.
“The safety of our school children should always be of the highest priority and should never be pawns,” Rawlings said.
On the spot approval of the registration fee Tuesday would have provided $1.2 million to the city in 2019 to offset the expected $4 million cost of a new Dallas crossing guard program.
The Mayors of Mesquite and DeSoto also asked Commissioners to approve the fee to help pay for the service in their cities. Other Dallas County Mayors wrote letters in support of the fee.
But County Commissioner Mike Cantrell led a push to put the question before voters on the November ballot instead.
“It gives people a chance to at least vote on it,” Cantrell said. “And it's county wide. They get to decide what happens with their dollar fifty.”
Now supporters must campaign for the registration fee.
“I believe the vast majority of Dallas County citizens would easily spend $1.50 if they knew it was going to be used to protect children crossing the street,” Rawlings said.
The City of Dallas is in several counties. Collin County already collects the Fee for Child Safety. The City of Dallas receives $600,000 from Collin County for crossing guards.