The week before winter break I heard from two different teachers that custodians at their schools were required to give representatives from private maintenance companies tours of the schools and show them what their job encompasses.
According to an article on the online version of the AJC, DeKalb County School System is considering privatizing custodian and maintenance jobs.
From the article:
The school system is considering privatizing custodians and maintenance jobs, including grounds-keeping, painting, window glazing, heating and air-conditioning, equipment repair and pest control.
“The objective is not to eliminate employees, but to save taxpayer dollars,” DeKalb schools spokesman Jeff Dickerson told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Wednesday.
School officials said the outsourcing is still a proposal and the amount of potential savings was not available this week.
However, the proposal could mean layoffs. Dickerson said about 700 jobs would be impacted. Board chairman Tom Bowen said the proposal impacts 900 jobs – 600 custodians and 350 at the school service center.
Read the entire article here:
I have several concerns with this proposal.
First, have any of you ever been to a football game at a DeKalb stadium with lots of fans in attendance? If so, have you seen how poorly the concession stands are both stocked and operated? If this system can’t successfully outsource and then manage such a small project as stadium concession stands, how well can they manage outsourcing such a large part of the day to day operation of a school and school system? Despite many complaints, the school system has refused to replace the contractor.
Second, call me a cynic, but this will be a large contract and I don’t have much confidence that the bid process will be free of issues. There doesn’t appear to have been an RFP posted, but we have reports that vendors were in the schools already. Have vendors been preselected, is the bid process going to be open and transparent, etc. I think I would like to have a new superintendent hired before we undertake such an endeavor.
Finally, from friends across the country, I get negative reports on outsourcing custodian services in the schools. One friend reports a nearly constant turnover in staff as the positions went from salaried, benefited jobs to hourly jobs with no benefits. Without knowing the vendors that are interested in this contract, it is impossible to know if this will be an issue in DeKalb or not.