Yongsan loses crossing guards to budget woes
Stars and Stripes August 28, 2006
YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea — No civilian crossing guards will be helping students to and from classes on base during this school year, according to Area II Support Activity officials.
Instead, speed bumps, newly painted crosswalks and military police patrols will be along 8th Army Drive to remind motorists to slow down in the presence of children, according to a written statement provided by Yongsan’s deputy garrison commander, Tillman D. Moses.
In the past, Area II hired 13 part-time contract workers to help the more than 2,000 students on Yongsan. Last spring, Area II announced the $95,000 needed to pay those workers would be gone.
Charles Toth, the superintendent for Department of Defense Dependents Schools-Korea, said on Aug. 17 he wasn’t sure whether there would be any extra help for students and their parents crossing the street on Tuesday, the first day of school.
“I know we’ll be there,” Toth said. “Our principals will be out there and our teachers will be out there.”
On Friday, Moses provided a written response to Stars and Stripes’ questions about the crossing guards.
“Beginning Aug. 29, the first day of the new school year, traffic-control points controlled by military police will be provided at key pedestrian crossing points on school days,” Moses wrote, adding that the police will be “especially active to (reinforce) speed limits and safe driving habits.”
It was unclear from the statement whether military police would be in place at every station formerly watched by the contracted workers.
Yongsan’s schools all face 8th Army Drive, also home to the base’s fire department, buildings housing after-school programs, two fast-food restaurants, the Dragon Hill Lodge and Main Post Chapel.
The elementary school also is bordered by X Corps Boulevard. Permanent speed control bumps will be added on X Corps Boulevard at Vaughn Avenue, Moses wrote.
Area II is part of the Army’s Installation Management Agency, which earlier this summer projected a $500 million budget shortfall in its current spending plan.
IMA commanders worldwide have been meeting to brainstorm ways to save money. Other bases have cut grass-cutting contracts, canceled talent shows, closed access gates and delayed opening a dining facility.