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Town out to recoup ‘education’ costs

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Local school boards may have two more bills on their plates as Fort Frances explores whether it can charge for both crossing guards and election fees.

At its regular meeting Monday night, council directed administration to look into whether the town could recuperate any of these expenses.

Mayor Glenn Witherspoon said new legislation enabled municipalities to charge for administrative work they did for other organizations, such as school boards and the Public Utilities Commission, during the municipal election.

And he noted changes in the Education Act enabled municipalities to bill school boards for the crossing guards.

"They can do it for elections," John McLeod, education director for the local public school board, said yesterday morning. "Not for crossing guards."

McLeod noted Fort Frances was the only town in the district that required crossing guards. If costs were turned over to the school board, the entire district would be helping to foot that bill.

"Why should the rest of the district be paying for it?" he asked, adding it was all the same taxpayer.

"If there’s changes in the Education Act, we’ll have to take a look at it," noted Planning and Development manager Ted Berry. But he admitted Kenora tried to do this before and it didn’t go anywhere.

Berry stressed the most important issue was to make sure crossing guards were in place for the start of the new school year today. Council renewed its contract with Lakeland Personnel for crossing guards based on last year’s agreement, with annual costs running at $17,000.

The town has crossing guards at two locations--Crowe Avenue and Scott Street, and King’s Highway at Alexander McKenzie School.

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