The school system added a second school to contract for janitorial services with First Facility Services.
The junior high school and the elementary school have both removed janitorial services from the principals’ responsibilities. There were five part-time custodians in the two schools, all of whom were given the opportunity to interview with the company, First Facility Services, though employment was at the company’s discretion, said Steve Spofford, chief operating officer for the school system. He worked on the contract with the company.
“At the junior high ... we estimate we’ll save $50,000 in the next 12 months,” he said.
The junior high switched to the service at the end of the school year. The elementary school switched to the cleaning service during the Christmas break.
Spofford said none of the full-time employees lost jobs. All of them, from both schools, were transferred to open positions at the high school and middle school.
The savings at the elementary school will probably be greater than the savings at the junior high because it is a larger school, Spofford said, though he did not have the figures readily available.
The service has two day porters at each school to see to the immediate needs of the schools, helping teachers move projects from cars to class, setting up conference rooms and emergency cleaning situations at the schools.
At the end of the school day, a large crew of workers thoroughly cleans the schools, taking less time than the crews could previously.
Spofford said the company saves money by bulk-ordering cleaning supplies for less than the school can purchase the items.
The company was required to conduct background checks that met system standards on all their employees before they were allowed in the schools.
Also included in the contract is that everyone working in the schools had to be legal U.S. residents. Spofford said all of the employees live in the Carrollton area.
“We piloted it at the elementary school and the teachers and principals were ecstatic,” Superintendent Kent Edwards said. “I think I was the most skeptical and most reluctant that we would lose something even though I could see the cost savings on paper.”
He said he was worried about no longer having direct control over the custodians, but the principals seems to appreciate it because they no longer have to monitor that aspect of the school.
“The contract service knows if the principal or teachers are unsatisfied with the service, they lose money,” Edwards said.
He has said several times during budget discussions that employees are the greatest resource of the county.
“I’m trying to ... to look for any way I can to save money and not lose efficiency as far as instruction and operation at the schools,” Edwards said. “If we’re saving money, somewhere down the road that’s going to manifest itself into not ... cutting a job.”
The middle school and high school retain the school custodians. Edwards said any future decision about expanding the program will wait until the school administration decides if they are receiving the desired results.
At the high school, with it’s abundance of night-time activities and use by the public, Edwards said flexibility in services is needed. If the program ever expands to the high school, it will be very different than it is at the elementary school.