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.
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.
… 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.
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 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.
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 …
More than a dozen custodians will be unemployed in a few days as jobs are outsourced to a private company. The school board says the move will get the district back on solid financial footing among a number of cost cutting moves. Teachers and administrators took a 3 percent paycut but the move is not sitting well with some. … Parents and custodians gave clawson school board members an earful after trustees voted 4-3 to outsource custodial services. Thirteen employees including Dan McHale who’s been with the district for nearly 30 years will be unemployed in a matter of days.
Clawson school board votes to privatize custodial services
Source: Victoria Mitchell, C&G Newspapers, August 12, 2015
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….
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.
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.
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.