Source: Lauren FitzPatrick, Chicago Sun-Times, January 22, 2017
Chicago Public Schools building engineers say a plan to put the rest of the district’s schools under private facilities management companies is going to cost the broke school system dearly. And they’re surprised the district has already planned which schools will be managed by Aramark and SodexoMAGIC before the Board of Education has inked a deal with the two companies, whose past work has drawn complaints. CPS won’t say how much the “integrated management services” might cost, nor would the district demonstrate they would save any money for the school system still begging state lawmakers for $215 million to balance its current operating budget. … CPS wants the transition complete by the summer of 2018. Few details about the new plans have been publicized. … A vote to put the rest of CPS schools under Aramark and SodexoMAGIC for things like pest control, snow removal and some building repairs could come as soon as the school board meeting Wednesday. More than 80 schools are part of a pilot program. … Troy LaRaviere, head of the Chicago Principals and Administrators Association, said school leaders do want that single point of contact; they just want control over school engineers back. … Carbon monoxide problems in schools last year — namely at Prussing Elementary, where children and teachers were hospitalized — happened after engineers were absent, he said. LaRaviere also questioned why companies that have cost more than projected and continue to draw complaints are being rewarded with more work. CPS paid Aramark more than $7 million extra in its first year of cleaning schools because 3.2 million square feet, including 22 entire schools, weren’t included in original estimates. … About 480 engineers working for CPS will be laid off, though the district says they can reapply for their jobs under a different union. It’s not clear how many will qualify or how much they will be paid.
Union: Privatizing all CPS buildings could harm city pension fund
Source: Lauren Fitzpatrick, Chicago Sun-Times, May 30, 2016
Chicago Public Schools has doubled the number of schools whose facilities will be managed by private companies, a move the engineers union says won’t save the broke district any money. The president of the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 143 also warned that CPS’ plan to move all 550 buildings to private managers will come with a larger cost to the city’s struggling municipal employees’ pension fund. … The fund’s executive director, James Mohler, told engineers that a “sudden removal of a large number of contributing employees can be detrimental” to the pension fund. He also warned that a mass termination of eligible workers could lead them to retire sooner, straining the fund to pay benefits for a longer time. Mohler couldn’t immediately be reached for comment. The city still is looking for a solution to sustainably fund the municipal pensions, which currently stand at about 33 percent. …
Chicago School Board Moves To Privatize Engineers
Source: Sarah Karp, WBEZ, May 26, 2016
School board members voted on Wednesday to allow two companies to take over the management of engineers in 50 schools. Engineers do upkeep and facility management at schools. By the 2017-2018 school year, if school district leaders go through with their current plans, all engineers will be working for a private company, as opposed to Chicago Public Schools. … School district officials have argued that privatizing these services is cheaper and more efficient. However, the hiring of Aramark for custodians was met with sharp criticism from principals, who said their schools were dirty as the company cut the number of custodians, changed their hours and gave them different task lists. … Aramark already manages custodians in all the schools where SodexoMAGIC is not. Under the agreement, they will take over managing engineers in 20 schools. CPS will not pay the company’s additional money to assume this extra management, according to the board report. Aramark’s existing contract is for $260 million, while SodexoMAGIC has an $80 million contract. But taking on this extra work will likely pay off for these companies. In April, Chicago Public Schools announced it was proposals to find a company to provide integrated facilities management for all the 400-some district-run schools. … William Iacullo, president of International Union of Operating Engineers Local 143, questioned board members about why they would give SodexoMAGIC and Aramark the benefit of participating in an expanded pilot program, while the district is in the process of awarding a big contract for the same services. The expanded pilot program was not bid out, but, because it is expected to be cost neutral, it doesn’t have to be, according to district officials. …
Chicago school board approves expanded private maintenance program
Source: Juan Perez, Jr, Chicago Tribune, May 25, 2016
The head of the labor union representing Chicago Public Schools’ building engineers called plans to privatize his group’s work a “money pit scheme” as the district’s board approved an expansion of a privately managed maintenance program. The unanimous vote by the Chicago Board of Education doubles the size of an upkeep program managed under contract of up to $80 million won by SodexoMAGIC, a company partly controlled by former NBA superstar and Mayor Rahm Emanuel supporter Earvin “Magic” Johnson. … CPS has requested proposals to standardize the custodial program — known as “integrated facilities management” — at all schools by the 2017-18 school year. That would affect hundreds of building engineers covered by a district labor contract that expires next month. … Iacullo said the union offered terms for a five-year contract but CPS rejected the terms. Under the integrated facilities management model, SodexoMAGIC handled custodial and engineering services, snow removal, landscaping and pest control at 33 district schools. The expansion approved Wednesday adds 30 schools to the company’s purview, CPS said. SodexoMAGIC also oversees CPS’ entire school facilities management system. ….