Columbia School Board nixes plan to outsource custodial work

Nov 13, 2012

The Columbia School Board has decided contracted custodial work is not the right option for the district. So, schools will continue to work with the district's current custodial staff.  At its meeting Monday night, board members heard from custodians working in Columbia schools.

A proposed measure to outsource the custodial staff for Battle High School was meant to increase staff efficiency, while saving the district money. The staff would be offered a higher starting pay, but lower pay overall, and there would also be a reduction in benefits. That measure was defeated.

Members of the district's custodial staff last night addressed the school board to speak against the contracted program. Alvin Sweezer has been a custodian with Columbia Public Schools for 15 years. He said he's relieved that the contract program won’t be implemented.

"If the company does later on down the road come in, we would lose everything," Sweezer said. "We’d have to start out at the bottom, like nine dollars (per hour), and work ourselves back up."

Sweezer said the custodial staff has already been taking yearly classes to work on effective cleaning skills and environmentally friendly methods. He said he hopes the district can improve the staff they already have by continuing to offer more training.