The city might not be willing to pay the $110,000 to support the crossing guard program at schools around Walnut Creek, but it is willing to help the Walnut Creek School District maintain the sports fields at its campuses.
Walnut Creek City Manager Gary Pokorny confirmed that the city's proposed 2010-12 budget includes a provision to allow it to provide maintenance for these fields, as it has in the past, though the city will ratchet down the annual amount it has been paying for this service. In the past, the city has spent about $100,000 a year.
The city also proposing to continue providing a $30,000 matching grant to help the school district continue to offer counseling services at its five elementary and one middle school.
These offers of help to the Walnut Creek School District will be part of City Council discussions about the budget to take place starting tonight.
These two school programs were at risk, with both the city and the Walnut Creek School District facing tough budget times. The school district, which is facing an $8 million deficit, was especially keen on maintaining its sports fields. The district has been using some of the $20 million from the 2002 bond measure to renovate or replace the six sports fields at its schools. Four schools now have new and improved fields that are safe and state-of-the art and which are used by the schools’ students and by sports leagues throughout the city. Two more fields will be fixed up this summer.
The city, for several years, has helped maintain those fields. At a joint meeting between the Walnut Creek City Council and the Walnut Creek School District two weeks ago, Superintendent Patricia Wool said she was afraid that the fields would go brown if it couldn't get maintenance help from the city.
At that same meeting, Mayor Sue Rainey said the city values its partnership with the schools, and always wants to do what it can to help them. On the other hand, she and other city officials at that time couldn't make any commitments to what, if anything, they could help the school district pay for.
Pokorny said the city is also looking for a way to help the school district pay offering counseling services at its six elementary and middle school campuses.