By Jon Delano

STOWE TOWNSHIP (KDKA) — It was the first day of school in the Sto-Rox school district, but parents of young children in Stowe say they had a rude awakening when their kids needed to cross busy streets to get the school bus — no crossing guards.

“I was totally shocked like I said,” Gary Kreutzer, a Stowe parent, told KDKA Money Editor Jon Delano. “This is the first time that I had heard anything of it. They didn’t send any newsletters out or say anything about cuts.”

Kreutzer brought his first grader to the bus stop on Broadway, and he was hardly alone.

“We have a middle school bus with10 kids. We have a first elementary school bus I counted 15, second elementary school bus, I counted 16,” noted Helen Burley, another local parent.

Like a number of municipalities, Stowe has cut five of its eight crossing guards, leaving just three.

“This is basically a cut to save money,” says Roger Paulish, Jr., father of three young children in the district schools.

“Well, I’m sorry. My 5 year old, my 7 and 8 year old are priceless. You can’t save money by cutting safety.”

The municipal police chief — responsible for crossing guards — was not available for comment, but Sto-Rox superintendent Mike Panza says he has no quarrel with the cutbacks.

“I’ve been in touch with the police chiefs. They are excellent. I believe they know what they’re doing and we will follow their lead.”

But with trucks and cars not always yielding to school children on busy streets, parents disagree.

“I moved here because I thought this was a safe neighborhood. I don’t want to live in a place that doesn’t value the children.”

Local parents say they will be at the next public meeting of the Stowe Township commissioners, asking the commissioners to restore those crossing guards that the parents say are so essential for the safety of their children.

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