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School Custodian Outsourcing Contract Up for Vote

Five votes needed for Board of Ed to approve two-year with Aramark.

The eight members of the Madison Board of Education are expected to vote Tuesday night on whether the school district should award a contract to Aramark to have the company handle most of the school district's custodial services next school year for approximately $1.28 million, and the following year for $1.31 million.

Five votes are needed to award the contract.

The controversial issue after residents commented on and asked questions about the proposal for hours. Residents raised concerns about staff turnover within Aramark, which they said they expect partly due to lower wages, and how that would affect employees' interactions with students and parents' comfort levels. They also said the current in-house custodians are an important part of the school community.

Some board members said delaying the vote would give them time to review their notes and continue a dialogue with residents.

The public portion of the meeting is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. in the Alice Perlaw Library Media Center at .

According to a district presentation recommending outsourcing, changing from in-house to outsourced custodians would allow the district to add 16.5 custodians within the confines of the 2012 budget, which some officials say is necessary because budget cuts in recent years reduced staffing to inadequate levels. 

According to the presentation, outsourcing would increase cleanliness in the schools, and allow the district to have buildings staffed over breaks and weekends with limited or no overtime costs, which would allow the district to reduce or eliminate fees assessed to outside organizations that use district facilities.

If approved, the number of custodian positions in the district would increase from 20 to 36.5, with most of the custodians being Aramark employees, while the district would keep 7.5 employees on the Board of Education payroll at salaries comparable to existing levels. The 7.5 positions would be new positions intended for current employees, possibly to help those close to retirement get pension benefits, district officials said.

The public portion of the meeting is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. in the Alice Perlaw Library Media Center at .

Karin Swenson Szotak May 22, 2012 at 10:40 AM
Since they don't vote a motion down, perhaps they will just remove the items from the agenda. But they will still need to address the need for more custodians, especially w the move to block scheduling at MHS this fall. Can't wait to attend my 2nd SRO BOE meeting tonight. http://madison.patch.com/blog_posts/custodians-vs-aramark-round-2
Steve Wells May 22, 2012 at 11:17 AM
I agree, Karin, that it won't reach a vote, but why would you say "since they don't vote a motion down"? With 8 members of the Board, 5-3 or 4-4 votes could easily happen. That's WHY there are 8 members, 8 theoretically independent-thinking citizens.
Karin Swenson Szotak May 22, 2012 at 11:29 AM
Steve, I'm sure they will discuss in executive session whether there is enough votes to vote it through. Since you and I don't believe there is, there won't be a need to vote and therefore they will remove the item from agenda. Has there ever been a time when voting occurred and the item wasn't passed? I've never seen it happen. If they are unsure, usually they table the item. But since it was already tabled, they will either vote Yes (neither of us believe that's the outcome), or remove it.

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