BOE Votes to Privatize Custodial Services
Contract awarded to Aramark
After months of contentious meetings and harsh reaction from school personnel, parents and borough residents, the Fair Lawn Board of Education voted Thursday night to retain a private company for nighttime custodial services in the borough's two middle schools and to eliminate seven custodial personnel for the 2011-12 fiscal year.
The two-part resolution, the first of which awarded the contract to Aramark Management Services, L.P., received six votes in favor, one against, one abstention and one absent.
Board member Mary Wallace was the lone “no” vote, and Ron Barbarulo abstained.
“I am a lifelong member and supporter of unions, and am against privatization,” said Wallace. “These kinds of positions should be given to our own people. I’ve believed this for 50 years of my life and I can’t change that.”
Wallace’s vote was met with a round of applause from the several hundred audience members, many of whom represented the Fair Lawn Education Association teacher union, whose contract issues have not yet been resolved.
Wallace was also the only “no” vote for the second part of the resolution, which called for the elimination of positions. Board member Elyss Frenkel was absent for the session.
Superintendent Bruce Watson defended the board’s decisions.
“We’re looking at clean, efficient operation and dollars and cents,” said Watson. “We have bigger problems that we’re trying to solve. We have to stop the bleeding, and unfortunately we have to look at some personnel in order to preserve education. That comes first.”
The approved contract for Aramark calls for a budget of $565,780 for 2011-12; $586,130 for 2012-13. Watson said those figures included an Aramark supervisor fee of $10,000.
When questioned about that item, Watson said, “I don’t see a problem with [having another supervisor]. This person will be responsible for the [Aramark] workers.”
Regarding snow removal and other responsibilities, Watson said there will be a plan put together as deemed necessary.
“The work will be the same, just the names of the players will change,” he said.
In other business, 17 district personnel were recognized for each having completed 25 years of service in the district. Additionally, eight teachers were presented the Bergen County Teachers Award for outstanding work in the classrooms.
They were Heather Sable (TJ MIddle); Peter Goldberg (Memorial Middle); Patty Nolan (Warren Point); Lindsay Pochini (Radburn); Jillian Saffer (Milnes); Irene Crowell (Forrest); Rona Goldberg (Edison); and Isabel Stern (High School).
There will also be a special meeting held on May 26 to formally announce the selection of the new principal of Westmoreland School.