Lansing School District privatizes custodial, maintenance jobs

Source: RJ Wolcott, Lansing State Journal, June 17, 2016

The Lansing Board of Education voted Thursday night to privatize more than 100 custodial and maintenance jobs within the Lansing School District. The 7-1 vote was taken 10 months after SodexoMAGIC was initially recommended by the district’s administration. Trustee Guillermo Lopez cast the lone vote in opposition. Approximately 109 district employees are affected by the privatization of custodial and other facilities-related jobs, said Lucy Rensberry, chair of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council Local 1390. … The district will begin negotiations with SodexoMAGIC, a partnership between Sodexo Inc. and the Earvin “Magic” Johnson-owned Magic Johnson Enterprises next week, said Superintendent Yvonne Caamal Canul. The district has a three-tiered plan it will present to SodexoMAGIC on how to keep employees within three years of reaching their pension thresholds under the district’s payroll until they hit their milestones. … SodexoMAGIC promised a litany of benefits in its proposal, including giving $1 million toward 21st-century classrooms as well as $60,000 in grants and summer internships for students. The company also vowed to hire all existing staff at their previous salaries and seniority levels and spend $750,000 on updated equipment and vehicles. …

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Privatizing custodians in Lansing schools up for vote Thursday
Source: RJ Wolcott, Lansing State Journal, June 14, 2016

Whether to privatize about 115 custodial and other facilities jobs in the Lansing School District is expected to be decided by the Lansing Board of Education on Thursday. It’s the second time in 10 months board members have been asked by the administration to approve SodexoMAGIC as the district’s facilities management company. … SodexoMAGIC was the highest bidder among those who provided cost estimates, but promised a litany of additional benefits. … SodexoMAGIC also promised to hire all current facilities staff while maintaining wages and seniority. It vowed to invest $750,000 toward improving facilities, including adding staff as well as updated equipment and vehicles. The move would allow the district to focus on education, removing the burden of hiring and training facilities staff, Spadafore added. Current district employees hired by SodexoMAGIC would lose their ability to contribute to the state pension system, a point of contention among staff, according to Dan Hamilton, staff representative for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 25. …

No vote taken on Lansing school’s privatization plan
Source: RJ Wolcott, Lansing State Journal, June 2, 2016

After spending more than 30 minutes discussing the possibility of privatizing custodial and other facilities services within the Lansing School District, Board of Education members chose not to vote on the issue Thursday evening. Several board members cited concerns about the administration’s recommendation to award a facilities management contract to SodexoMAGIC, including how third-party staff would be integrated into schools and what efforts would be made to accommodate current union staff approaching retirement. … The company promised to hire all current facilities staff, roughly 115 employees, and maintain their wages and seniority, and pay $750,000 toward improving infrastructure within the district as well as addition staffing, equipment and vehicles. Custodians and other facilities staff would lose access to state-sponsored pensions if they became SodexoMAGIC employees, according to Dan Hamilton, staff representative for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 25. Several staff members have nearly reached retirement age or their 30-year pension thresholds, and he hopes the district can work with the union to find a way to keep those employees under the district’s banners until they reach their milestones. …

Lansing school board tables privatizing issue
Source: RJ Wolcott, Lansing State Journal, September 3, 2015

Members of the Lansing Board of Education tabled a vote on whether or not to privatize facilities management services during the Thursday night meeting. Despite a recommendation listed on the agenda to approve SodexoMAGIC as its new facilities manager, Board President Peter Spadafore motioned to table the issue. The decision was supported 5-1 by board members. …

Lansing School District Poised to Privatize Facilities Management Despite Union Outcry
Source: Philip D Schlosser, Michigan Capitol Confidential, August 20, 2015

At a recent meeting, the Lansing school board considered bids for privatizing facility management services, including custodial, grounds keeping and maintenance. The board heard recommendations from a committee charged with reviewing the bids, which called for awarding a contract to SodexoMAGIC, a partnership between Sodexo, Inc. and Magic Johnson Enterprises. … The Lansing State Journal first reported the district’s intention to open competitive bidding on facilities management last month, mentioning a July 29 deadline for bids. The newspaper reported that on Aug. 6 the review committee recommended SodexoMAGIC, despite its $7 million bid being the highest of several bids under consideration. Troy-based GCA Services Group bid $6.49 million, and CSM Services of Hudsonville bid $5.64 million. SodexoMAGIC offered a proposal to hire all current custodial, grounds and maintenance staff – roughly 115 employees – as well as maintain present wages and seniority.

Lansing schools privatization plan drawing criticism from union
Source: RJ Wolcott, Lansing State Journal, August 8, 2015

Union employees at the Lansing School District say they are disappointed with an administrative recommendation to privatize facilities service. One union representative went so far as to say the union was intentionally disqualified from competing for a contract for custodial and maintenance work, an argument the district’s superintendent says isn’t true. … Lansing School administrators want SodexoMAGIC to take over facilities management for the district, despite having the highest estimated cost among the three companies who submitted complete bids. … On Thursday night, prior to the administration’s recommendation, Mark Troisi, a daytime custodian at Holt Public Schools, advised the board to consider his district’s privatization experience. He said his district has been slowly privatizing custodial services for some time, and the differences are profound. … Because of low wages, many contracted staff have a low regard for their work, he said, and it’s reflected in the cleanliness of the district’s buildings. Under Lansing’s plan, the union employees in attendance would keep their jobs and seniority, but would lose access to state-sponsored pensions in transitioning to SodexoMAGIC, Hamilton said. Those perilously close to reaching full benefit status, including many who’ve worked for the district for decades, have the most to lose from privatization, he said.

Lansing School District Considers Privatizing Maintenance Staff
Source: Faith Miller, WILX, August 6, 2015

The Lansing Board of Education might privatize facilities management – which encompasses custodial, grounds, and maintenance workers. The Board heard the recommendation of a committee – to privatize through Sodexo Magic – at a regular meeting Thursday. Dozens of current maintenance and custodial workers came to the meeting to voice their concerns, primarily that switching from being public employees to working for Sodexo could jeopardize pensions….

Savings minimal after Lansing schools outsources busing
Source: RJ Wolcott, Lansing State Journal, July 24, 2015

The Lansing School District anticipated saving $760,000 annually when it outsourced busing services to Dean Transportation in May 2014. It didn’t. In its first year with Dean, the district spent $754,000, saving just $6,000. Inaccurate bus routes provided by the district to Dean were one of the chief reasons for the added costs, said district spokesman Bob Kolt.Dan Hamilton, staff representative for the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees Council 25, said the district simply traded in the value of one of its assets by selling the bus fleet…Little more than a year after privatizing busing, the district is now accepting bids for facilities management services. The district has asked for bids from companies that can provide custodial work as well as maintain the district’s athletic fields. As many as 115 union employees who currently work for the district could be affected. School board President Peter Spadafore said the district will be allowed to bid for the contract.

Lansing schools accepting bids to replace custodians
Source: RJ Wolcott, Lansing State Journal, July 17, 2015

The Lansing School District is accepting bids from private companies to replace nearly 150 existing union employees. … Peter Spadafore, president of the district’s Board of Education, said the board discusses all potential budget-related issues annually. Conversations about privatizing custodial and other maintenance services have come up in recent years, but Spadafore said Friday he was not aware the district was soliciting bids. The district is required to entertain a bid from the existing union, Spadafore said. … Communication from school officials has been non-existent, Rassizi said. She and her fellow employees worry the union won’t be considered by the district because of requirements outlined in the request. Any organization submitting a bid is required to show five school district clients where they are currently providing services, two of which need to be of comparable size to the Lansing School District, according to the request. … Last year, the district privatized its bus services, saving about $760,000 in annual costs. The district contracts services with Dean Transportation through an Ingham Intermediate School District consortium. The district also expected to sell its existing bus fleet for about $1.5 million.