Fundraising campaign for school crossings | Sunbury and Macedon chains

Elsie Lange

Macedon Ranges Council has joined a campaign to advocate with the state government for a sustainable funding model for school crossing supervisors.

At a meeting on August 24, the council voted to participate in the Monash council-led effort to secure additional government funding for the school crossing program.

“The council currently receives partial funding for the program, but it is provided on an annual basis and covers less than half the cost of the service,” said a report to the council.

“The council is committed to continuing this important service and is seeking a more equitable and sustainable funding model from the state government to help reduce costs to ratepayers.”

According to the report, the board provides supervisors at 21 school crossings, 20 of which are partially funded by the government and one of which is funded by the board.

The total cost of school crossing supervisors in the Macedon Ranges for 2021-22 was $397,949, with $117,230 funded by government and council to cover the shortfall.

In June of this year, the Department of Transportation (DOT) advised the board that the government’s share of funding for 2022-23 would increase by 20%, to approximately $140,600.

But the board’s report said “there is no guarantee or indication of what funding will be beyond 2023 and will always leave a funding gap of more than $243,000 per year, the gap will continue.” digging in as consulting costs rise”.

“The annual funding provided to date by the [government] is well below the costs incurred by the board…and the shortfall grows every year because the funding has no [consumer price index] built-in increase,” the report said.

“Any increase is at the discretion of the state government, as the state budget allows.”

The report also raised concerns about the DOT’s indication that it would shift from a pedestrian/vehicle count approach to a risk-based approach to future funding for crossing supervisors.

“Because the service is provided to support a function of state government (education), it is reasonable for the [government] financially supporting the service…ensuring that the service is sustainable into the future to meet the needs of the community,” the report states.

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