SEATTLE - Thousands of local students will head back to school Wednesday.
For Seattle Public Schools, the district still needs more staffing when it comes to school crossing guards.
The district is short about 20 to 40 guards. And officials say guards are crucial for keeping their students safe, especially in dangerous intersections.
KING 5 has also learned that after 60 years, the Seattle Police Department will no longer run the school crossing guard program.
Richard Staudt, Risk Manager with Seattle Public Schools, says the reasons range from the budget to the police department no longer seeing the crossing guards as a core part of their mission.
Seattle Public Schools is now picking up the program saying safety and its students are a high priority for the district.
"So many crossings are ones I wouldn't let my 5th grader cross without a crossing guard that means a parent needs to be driving their kids to school. They need to find some other way of getting there. It creates congestion and creates additional safety hazards in front of the school," said Staudt.
A group of potential crossing guards trained weeks before the new school year. Some are former long-time police department employees under the previous crossing guard program, and others are brand new.
Great-grandmother Henrietta Price has been a crossing guard for 23 years. She encourages others to sign up.
"I grew up in a family setting that said 'you don't like what's going on what are you going to do?' I have children I have 20 grandchildren and 24 great-grand kids, so children are my life so I plan to do it til I can't walk," said Price.
District officials say it's crucial they fill the vacant crossing guard spots and find people who are reliable.
If you're interested, you can pick up an application at any Seattle Public School.
Here are the requirements: You must be available to work one hour in the morning and one hour in the afternoon, be reliable and willing to work in any weather, and of course enjoy working with kids.
The pay is $12.33 an hour for 2 hours a day.