Madison school administrators received information from four companies last week about custodial services for the district, a topic that will be discussed further by the Board of Education and with members of the union that represents the 19 custodians who work for Madison schools, Superintendent Dr. Michael Rossi said.
Rossi said the scenarios currently being looked at involve keeping six of the existing custodians. He said the district was preparing letters for the union members. School Business Adminsitrator Gary Lane said more information about the issue and the related financial information would be discussed publicly at a later time.
Joseph Cecala, head custodian at Torey J. Sabatini school and president of the Facilities Staff Association, which is a member of the NJEA, said they would continue the discussions.
District officials said the district's custodians are understaffed after recent budget cuts, and outsourcing would allow the district to have about 10 more people maintaining the schools. Rossi said the district needs a plumber, electrician and HVAC specialist.
Board of Education President Lisa Ellis said she hates that the district is at the point of considering the option, but nothing is decided.
"I promise this is not a done deal," she said.
Rossi said the union has made what the district would normally consider excellent offers under normal bargaining circumstances, but the district still needs to weigh the union's offers against proposals from companies.
A number of residents spoke in support of the custodians, including Madison Police Lt. Jerry Mantone. Mantone said custodians who are familiar with the students and schools helped address a graffiti situation in the past, and are on call to help police if needed. One parent said a custodian watched out for her child who was being bullied.