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Public service assistants pulled from 12 St. Johns County schools

Sheriff's Office: PSAs not needed at schools with minimal traffic

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ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – The St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office has changed the number of public service assistants assigned to certain schools this year, citing the county’s ongoing development boom and limited resources.

Twelve public service assistants, or PSAs, were removed from select schools after the Sheriff’s Office took stock of several factors, including traffic levels and posted speed limits near campus, said spokesperson Chuck Mulligan.

Palencia Elementary, Ocean Palms Elementary, Hartley Elementary, South Woods Elementary, Landrum Middle, Murray Middle, Valley Ride Academy, Nease High, Liberty Pines Academy, and Ponte Vedra High are among the schools affected.

"We went and surveyed those schools and determined they didn’t need public service assistants," said Mulligan. "They needed school crossing guards."

He said PSAs are part-time employees hired to help direct drivers before and after school. He added they’re not to be confused with crossing guards, who are legally required to be posted outside every school.

"If the road in front of the school has a speed limit of 25 miles per hour or less already, that was a major factor," said Mulligan. "If the school has a crossing guard on that road already, that was a factor."

Mulligan said the Sheriff’s Office has limited funds to pay PSAs, who can only work up to 29 hours a week. He said removing PSAs from schools where they’re not needed frees them up to handle minor calls for service, allowing deputies to focus on major incidents.

The Sheriff’s Office is currently hiring PSAs. To learn more about the job’s responsibilities and submit your application, visit the employment tab on the agency’s website.

About the Author:

Florida-born multi-media journalist pays special attention to issues in St. Johns County.