Category Archives: Custodial

Audit reveals UL was over charged by catering company Sodexo

Source: KATC, October 5, 2015

UL is responding to new allegations that it may have overspent thousands of taxpayer dollars to a UL food service provider. According to a newly released legislative audit, UL was over charged nearly $5,500 for tailgating events by food service provider Sodexo, from October 10th, 2009 to November 7th, 2013.  During that time, the audit says Sodexo allegedly overcharged UL nine times.  However, both UL and Sodexo say they’re working to credit the university back that money.


Audit report: UL at Lafayette food services company catered parties for student union director for free
Source: Lanie Lee Cook, The Acadiana Advocate, October 5, 2015

An audit released on Monday revealed the company selling food services to the University of Louisiana at Lafayette overbilled the school on some occasions, provided free catering for non-university events involving a former school official and brokered unwritten meal deals with university employees in exchange for cleaning services and football tickets. The state Legislative Auditor’s findings come almost a year after university auditors discovered possible misappropriation of public funds in its dealings with Sodexo Management Inc. The school is now “reviewing its contractual relationship” with the company, according to a written response to the audit by UL-Lafayette President Joseph Savoie. … Sodexo also owes the university money for cleaning services, as the union’s housekeeping staff cleaned the student dining hall — which is under lease and operated by Sodexo — while on the university’s clock and in exchange for meal plans, according to the audit. Each employee who cleaned the dining hall received a meal a day from July 2009 to August 2014, costing Sodexo at least $33,213, yet part of Sodexo’s contract includes cleaning the facilities it leases.

CPS to lose more custodians later this month

Source: Lauren Fitz-Patrick, The Chicago Sun-Times, October 1, 2015

Another 61 privately employed custodians who work in Chicago Public Schools are about to lose their jobs cleaning schools, though the district says many of them will be hired back in other buildings. … Several hundred custodians have been laid off since the private company Aramark took over custodial management at CPS in 2014. The layoffs take effect Oct. 13 and the affected employees have been notified, according to their union, the Service Employees Union International Local 1. … CPS anticipates that more than half of the 61 will be immediately offered jobs elsewhere in CPS, leaving about 20 people out of work. CPS has about 1,800 privately employed custodians and 825 who are employed by the Chicago Board of Education.


Rahm’s privatization of school janitors is still a mess
Source: Ben Joravsky, Chicago Reader, June 4, 2015

For the last several months, teachers in Chicago have been doing two jobs for the price of one: instructing kids, and occasionally taking a moment to mop, scrub, or vacuum their dirty classrooms. The extra duties are the result of a $340 million privatization boondoggle from Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Among other things, it’s resulted in the Chicago Public Schools firing hundreds of janitors. Now teachers at Oriole Park elementary on the northwest side have decided to take matters into their own hands. They’ve filed a union grievance that, if successful, could force CPS to hire back some of the janitors. Apparently this is the state of things: to get CPS to clean its schools, teachers have to go all legal on them.

Chicago school cleaning contract millions over budget /Aramark has so far billed Chicago Public Schools $86 million for what was supposed to cost $64 million
Source: Becky Vevea, WBEZ, April 27, 2015

The promise of cleaner schools at a lower price has turned out to be just that — a promise. Chicago Public Schools’ three-year contract with Philadelphia-based Aramark to manage all school cleaning services is $22 million over budget, according to procurement and finance records obtained by WBEZ. Aramark has billed Chicago Public Schools $86 million for the first 11 months of its three-year contract. The first year price tag was initially set at $64 million….
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WFISD implements new cleaning standards after staph found

Source: John Ingle, Times Record-News, September 22, 2015

The Wichita Falls ISD has implemented new cleaning procedures for locker rooms after three student athletes at Rider High School tested positive for staph infection in early September. Ashley Thomas, communications officer for the district, said the district learned of the positive test results on Sept. 8. The following day, the Wichita Falls-Wichita County Public Health District was asked to collect swab samples. … Lou Kreidler, director of health at the health district, said employees from the General Environmental office met with Aramark and discussed their cleaning procedures. She said it came down to the cleaning company simply not cleaning appropriately.

Outsourcing of staff avoided

Source: Jacklyn York,, September 22, 2015

In an effort to realize nearly $300,000 in budget cuts last spring, administrators considered outsourcing some campus services, including janitorial services and groundskeeping. … Eliminating nine positions, he said, was a better alternative for the university, noting that all of the positions were unfilled meaning that no people lost their jobs. Of the people in the positions considered for outsourcing, almost half of those have been with the university for 10 or more years, Owen said, noting that people working for the university tend to stay in their jobs much longer than when they work for a private company. …

In a bankrupt Pa. school district, teachers plan to work for free

Source: Lyndsey Layton, The Washington Post, August 28, 2015

Employees of the Chester Upland School District in Pennsylvania will show up for work on the first day of school next Wednesday, but they don’t expect to get paid. The district, which has been struggling with financial and academic problems for decades, is on the edge of insolvency and cannot make payroll, state and local officials have said. So on Thursday, about 200 members of the local teachers union voted unanimously to work without pay as the new school year opens. They were joined by secretaries, school bus drivers, janitors and administrators. … Chester Upland is facing a $22 million deficit that could grow to more than $46 million without major intervention, Sheridan said. He blamed several factors: local mismanagement, state cuts in education spending under the previous governor and a state law that requires traditional school districts to pay charter schools significant amounts for students who live within their boundaries but attend charters. Public charter schools, which are publicly funded but privately run, have been growing to the point that they educate nearly half the students who live in the Chester Upland district. Chester Upland pays local charter schools about $64 million in tuition payments — more than it receives in state school aid.

Bus drivers cleaning Wichita schools in pilot program

Source: Suzanne Perez Tobias, The Wichita Eagle, September 13, 2015

The Wichita district is using bus drivers as part-time custodians at more than a dozen elementary schools as part of a pilot program aimed at keeping schools clean and holding down costs, officials said. Darren Muci, director of operations for Wichita schools, said the district plans to contract with First Student this semester to provide workers to clean cafeterias over the lunch period at 16 schools. … Wichita school board members on Monday will consider a contract with First Student for temporary cafeteria workers for the remainder of the fall semester. The district would pay $15 an hour per worker, according to the proposal – $45,000 or less for all 16 schools. … Several schools switched custodians to later shifts to clean classrooms, hallways and common areas at the end of the school day, Muci said. That left the schools needing extra help at lunchtime, but there weren’t enough funds to hire additional custodians, he said. Custodians, who are district employees, receive pay and benefits under the district’s contract with the Service Employees International Union Local 513.

Janitors rally for higher wages

Source: Isabella Sayyah, The Daily Trojan, September 9, 2015

… The 200-250 janitors organized by the Service Employees International Union, United Service Workers West, are asking USC officials to support them in their bid for higher wages and better health care benefits from subcontractor Aramark. … The workers union contract expired at the end of June. Since, the janitors have been working without a contract, according to Luiz Fuentes, lead organizer with SIEU USWW. … Though the janitors’ negotiations are strictly with Aramark, the group hopes that the University can assist them in negotiating a better contract. … Currently, the janitors earn from $9.75 up to $17 an hour, depending on how long they’ve held their job and their skill set, Garcia said.

Janitors strike at Barrington High School is over

Source: Todd Shields, Chicago Tribune, September 4, 2015

A group of striking janitors at Barrington High School will return to work Tuesday, officials said in a statement. The Service Employees International Union, which supported the strike, said it had productive negotiations with RJB Properties, which employed the janitors. As a result of those talks, the janitors’ hourly wage will increase to $9.50, according to the statement. …


Striking Barrington High janitors: Restore pay and we’ll negotiate
Source: Bob Chwedyk, The Daily Herald, August 25, 2015

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. …

Only about 15 percent of Texas school districts outsource foodservices

Source: Mike Buzalka, Food Management, September 3, 2015

Only 153 of the 1,025 independent school districts in Texas contract out their food services, according to a survey by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Nevertheless, that ratio, about 15 percent of the districts, is the highest of the three types of services the Mackinac Center studied. … The numbers were contrasted with Michigan’s 542 school districts, which the Mackinac Center has been surveying for years. There, 42.8 percent of districts contract out foodservices, up from 28.6 percent 10 years ago.


New Survey Says Texas Schools Behind Contracting Curve
Source: Michael D. LaFaive and James Quintero, Mackinac Center for Public Policy, September 2, 2015

The new statewide survey of Texas’ 1,025 independent school districts, prepared by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, a Michigan-based research institute, sought to find out how many school districts — if any — are getting the most bang for their buck by contracting out noninstructional services, like transportation, food, and custodial work. … The Mackinac Center found that only 153 districts, or 15 percent of those surveyed, contracted out for food services, the highest contracting rate of all three areas. Custodial and transportation contracting topped out at just 9.8 percent and 3.8 percent, respectively. Statewide, 22.8 percent of all conventional public school districts in Texas contract out for at least one of the three major noninstructional services. Only nine districts, or less than one percent, contracted out for all three noninstructional categories, transportation, food, and custodial services.

Survey: Pennsylvania is School Contracting Leader

Source: Michael D. LaFaive and Nathaniel Lehman, Mackinac Center for Public Policy, September 1, 2015

A recent survey of Pennsylvania’s conventional public school districts by a Michigan-based research institute indicates that 75.2 percent of those districts contract out with private vendors for at least one of the three major noninstructional services. … Of Pennsylvania’s 500 districts, officials from 499 of them were successfully interviewed by researchers at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy … Private transportation providers can be found in 66.3 percent of Pennsylvania districts, … Pennsylvania also has the highest rate for contracting out food service of any state in this year’s survey, at 44.5 percent. … Pennsylvania custodial contracting rate is only 8.8 percent …