More than a third of all conventional pubic school districts in Georgia contract out one of the three major non-instructional services, according to survey data collected this summer by a the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, a Michigan-based research institute. The Mackinac Center survey of Georgia and four other states found that 38 percent of Georgia districts contract out for at least one of the “big three” non-instructional services: food, transportation and custodial services. … But Mackinac found a curious pattern in Georgia: Just three districts — 1.7 percent — contract out transportation (bus) services, and only four, or 2.2 percent, contract out for food services.
Barrington High School janitors spent a fourth day walking picket lines Tuesday, and a union spokeswoman said they will remain on strike until their wages, cut from $9.77 to $8.50 an hour, are restored. Service Employees International Union spokeswoman Izabela Miltko said the union informed the custodians’ employer, RJB Properties, and Barrington Area Unit School District 220 officials that they will return to the bargaining table only when their wages return to last year’s level. … Despite calls from the union for the district to intervene, Harris maintains that the dispute remains between RJB and its employees. The district, which contracts RJB to provide custodians to the high school, is just trying to help broker an agreement, he said. …
Custodian strike to greet Barrington High students on first day
Source: Doug T Graham, The Daily Herald, August 18, 2015
Students returning to Barrington High School will be greeted by picket lines of janitors unsatisfied with their pay for cleaning the school, a union spokeswoman said Tuesday. Izabela Miltko of the Service Employees International Union said the workers are negotiating a new contract with their employer, RJB Properties, which is contracted by Barrington Area Unit School District 220 to provide custodial services at the high school. … Miltko said RJB cut workers’ pay from $9.77 to $8.50 an hour after winning a new contract with the school district earlier this year. The $9.77 hourly wage was part of a union contract that expired at the end of July, Miltko said. …
…But the governor has argued that the administration’s experience shows that privatization does save money. … The Nashville Democrat pointed to our NewsChannel 5 investigation of a contract that outsourced the maintenance of state vehicles to Bridgestone-Firestone. We found a headlight bulb that the state could have bought for $1.74 from a parts company on an existing state contract. Bridgestone’s charge: $12.34, plus another $23 for installation. There was also a no-bid contract with Enterprise Rent-A-Car. We went online looking for discount codes and found a mid-size car for $148 a week. The state’s price: $184.
CCA says it didn’t respond to TN privatization request
Source: Dave Boucher, The Tennessean, August 24, 2015
Nashville-based Corrections Corporation of America, the largest operator of private prisons in the country, did not respond to a recent move from Tennessee exploring the idea of privatizing facilities management at prisons, colleges, parks and other state facilities. … The fact CCA didn’t respond to the request for information doesn’t prevent it from bidding on any related privatization. CCA housed 5,211 state inmates as of June 30 at three prisons in Tennessee, in addition to operating the Metro-Davidson County Detention Facility. The company faces scrutiny locally and nationally over violence and staffing issues.
Haslam privatization proposal threatens Facilities Services, among others
Source: Heidi Hill, The Daily Beacon, August 24, 2015
Tennessee is not for sale. That’s what Tom Anderson and his peers at United Campus Workers have declared in response to Gov. Bill Haslam’s plan to privatize the management of state-owned properties at UT, thus outsourcing facility management to interested private companies. … Anderson estimated approximately 1,000 jobs are at risk for 700 employees work at UT Facilities Services and the remaining 300 who operate under housekeeping, dining management or other campus services. These individuals, according to Anderson, all will likely lose their jobs if Haslam’s outsourcing proposal baits enough interest.
… Senate Bill 376 would ban the university from outsourcing full-time jobs to companies that don’t match UC pay and benefits for comparable employment. The union estimates the proposal would increase UC’s labor costs by about $9.1 million, and improve health care and other benefits for about 650 full-time custodians, groundskeepers, caterers and other workers. UC officials say the impact is far broader and the price tag on SB 376 is more like $36 million – no small expense for a university that turns away thousands of qualified students. Hence the effort to head it off with the minimum wage. …
Why UC’s new ‘minimum wage’ falls short
Source: Kathryn Lybarger, San Francisco Chronicle, August 14, 2015
There is a difference between acknowledging that a problem exists and solving the problem. Case in point is the University of California’s decision last month to enact a minimum wage that will apply to “many thousands” of its contract workers — custodians, landscapers, food service workers and others who do the same jobs as career UC workers, but are instead employed by private firms who profit from paying poverty wages with no benefits.
UC’s $15 minimum wage leaves out many workers
Source: Chris Kirkham, The Los Angeles Times, August 12, 2015
Del Rio considers himself lucky. Like many of the nation’s largest employers, the University of California system relies on a vast network of subcontracted and temporary employees to fuel its daily operations — custodial work, landscaping, food preparation, security services. Many work the same shifts for years, with little in the way of job security, earning close to the minimum wage. When the UC system announced plans to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2017 for both direct and contract employees, it rekindled a long-standing debate about working conditions at one of the world’s most prestigious learning institutions — California’s third-largest employer. UC officials said the vast majority of its direct employees already make well above $15 an hour. The university estimates only about 1.6% of its 201,000 direct employees across the state will get a raise. … A study this year from the U.S. Government Accountability Office found that contingent workers, including subcontractors, earned an average of 16.7% less each week than standard employees. Such work arrangements typically lead to “lower earnings, fewer benefits and a greater reliance on public assistance,” the report concluded. … UC’s chapter of the American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees union released a report Friday arguing that the university’s two-tier workforce model is “eliminating middle-class career pathways, and adding to the ranks of California’s working poor.” Drawing on public records requests, the report identified at least 45 contracts across the system in which subcontracted employees performed the same tasks as career UC workers.
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.
City Schools officials are struggling to fill more than 20 part-time custodial positions for night work across their school system, said Gary Anderson, director of finance and administration, during a Murfreesboro City School Board meeting Tuesday. … The district would like to eventually manage the entire custodial staff in-house, Anderson said. Each school already has a full-time day custodian hired. … External contractors had managed the night custodial operations for six to seven years before City Schools took over the process again this summer.
There are more Michigan public schools contracting out food, custodial or transportation services than ever, according to the Mackinac Center’s latest survey of school districts. This year, 70.8 percent of school districts use private-sector vendors to clean buildings, get kids to school, or cook and serve school meals. This is up from 66.6 percent the previous year. … The biggest change has been in custodial services. Our 2003 survey found only 34 districts contracted out this service. In 2015, 283 of Michigan’s 542 districts contracted out these services. School food services are highly-regulated enterprises and the federal government subsidizes meals for many children. There are a few companies that have specialized in helping districts provide this service. In 2003, 27.3 percent of districts contracted out these services. This proportion increased to 42.8 percent in 2015. … There is a growing number of school districts that use private-sector contractors to bus students to and from schools. There were 18 districts that began new transportation contracts between the 2014 survey and the 2015 survey and now 144 of Michigan’s 542 districts (26.6 percent) contract out this service.
2014 Michigan School Privatization Survey
Source: James M. Hohman and Zachary Woodman, Mackinac Center for Public Policy, ISBN: 978-1-890624-37-8, 2014
From the summary:
The growth of school support service privatization has slowed. The 2014 survey shows that the percentage of school districts that contract out for food, custodial or transportation services increased just 0.4 percentage points, the smallest growth recorded since the survey began. Each service, however, increased and satisfaction with contracting remains high.
2014 Survey Results
Appendix A: Revisions to Previous Publications
Appendix B: Map of Survey Findings by School District
The Clawson Public Schools Board of Education voted Aug. 10 in favor of privatizing its custodial services, a move supporters say will save the district $300,000. The Clawson High School media center held a full house of attendees for the meeting. The final tally was 4-3 in favor of entering into a three-year intergovernmental agreement for custodial maintenance services with Ferndale Public Schools to utilize that district’s private firm, GCA Services Group. … Through the agreement, Clawson Public Schools will outsource its custodial services with GCA Services Group employees and lay off 13 custodians employed through the district. …
District to decide on privatizing custodial services
Source: Victoria Mitchell, C & G News, July 22, 2015
The Clawson Public Schools Board of Education will decide next month on whether to enter into an agreement resulting in privatizing maintenance and custodial services in the district….Board President Jessica Back said that although she’s deeply saddened about having to support privatization of custodial services, other district employees are shouldering the brunt of the cutbacks. “I have real trouble justifying holding on to the custodial staff when we already cut teacher salaries, we’ve cut teachers’ salaries by 3 percent, plus we’ve asked them to take more concessions, and that is a hard thing to do and that directly affects students,” she said..
..Many residents and custodial workers attended the July 13 meeting in support of keeping the custodial staff. “Above all, I have safety concerns,” said parent Christen Wilder. “I can walk into Schalm school and recognize the faces of those people that belong there, but more importantly, the custodians know who does or doesn’t belong in a building.” The lifetime resident and parent of two children said she is concerned that an outside company would not provide the dedication to after-school activities, fundraisers, practices and events. “I would hope that maybe some maneuvers to streamline services and increase productivity and efficiency could be explored,” she said. Tony Dematties, head night custodian at Kenwood Elementary School, named a long list of duties the custodians perform in addition to cleaning. “Other attributes we bring are the familiarity of buildings, equipment, children, families and the community, and our genuine concern with keeping the children safe,” he said. Dematties said outsourcing will hurt the district, children, staff and community.
School district considers privatizing custodial services
Source: Victoria Mitchell, C&G Newspapers, June 17, 2015
The Clawson Public Schools Board of Education began publicly discussing privatizing its custodial services last week in an attempt to save more than a quarter of a million dollars. …. The district’s 2015-16 budget projects a fund balance, like a rainy day bank account, of just below 2 percent of the $22 million general fund. The district’s goal is a minimum of 5 percent. …. The district employs 13 custodians covering 419,543 square feet of buildings and 20 acres of property. Clawson Public Schools has 1,750 students and is expected to drop to 1,700 students in the 2015-16 school year.
Privatization would result in layoffs of the current custodial staff….. Under the privatization plan, Clawson would hire GCA Services Group and receive the services of 21.5 custodians, including two full-time maintenance men and two dedicated groundskeepers….
The University of New Orleans plans to outsource its building services work this fall, a cost-cutting measure that the cash-strapped Lakefront school expects will save more than $1 million in five years at the expense of nearly 80 workers whose jobs are thrown into question. … UNO spokesman Adam Norris said Wednesday that affected employees were notified about the possible change two weeks ago. The Building Services Department includes janitorial and grounds employees. Norris said 66 classified employees, those covered by Civil Service, and 10 unclassified employees will be affected. … UNO President Peter Fos eventually recommended eliminating six academic programs, one department and 22 faculty and staff positions in a push to save $1 million this academic year and $2.8 million next year. Since taking the helm in 2012, Fos has eliminated at least 140 positions.
Flagler County Commissioners rejected a cost-cutting move that would have saved about $173,000 each year by eliminating more than a dozen custodial positions and outsourcing janitorial services to a private company … County administrators put the proposal before the County Commission in an effort to streamline expenditures from the county’s budget. The recommendation was to hire American Janitorial, Inc., to provide cleanup services at county facilities for $458,110 per year. … Flagler County currently uses in-house staff to provide custodial duties at its facilities. Commissioner Barbara Revels pointed out that outsourcing those services would effectively remove 13 full-time positons and one part-time job from the county’s General Services department. According to records, 15 employees with annual salaries ranging between $26,374 and $13,031 were on the chopping block. Officials said two of the workers would likely have been reassigned to different departments, had the contract been approved. There was no guarantee American Janitorial would have hired any of the remaining 13 other employees.