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Board of Ed Retains In-House Custodians at a Cost

The Board of Education must now come up with $450,000 in cuts to replace the money that outsourcing custodial workers would have brought in to the district.

An outpouring of public support for the district’s custodians at Thursday’s meeting likely spared them their jobs – at least for the time being.

Following more than an hour of pleas from two dozen students, teachers and residents, the board voted to freeze expansion of the and to retain the 13 in-house custodians whose jobs were on the chopping block.

While the board’s decision was met with a standing ovation Thursday night, it may end up having repercussions that are far from popular.

The district’s depends on the $450,000 infusion that custodial outsourcing would have provided. With that no longer forthcoming, the nearly half-million dollar shortfall must be made up elsewhere.

“A big ticket item has to get chopped or several small ticket items have to get chopped,” said John Mancinelli, the only board member who ultimately voted to outsource the custodians. “But something has to be resolved because the budget’s been approved. You can’t just add a big chunk of money or remove a big chunk of money.” 

After the meeting, board members met with the administration in closed session to gauge what the district might be able to cut.

“We asked the superintendent to give us a whole bunch of options,” Mancinelli said. “If you don’t make the adjustment in the budget this year, what has to get cut?”

Board president Michael Rosenberg said the cuts could be made anywhere, depending on the superintendent’s recommendation. Even the custodial staff still isn’t in the clear.

“The budget was made with these positions being cut,” Rosenberg said of the custodians originally slated for layoffs. “If the administration comes back and gives us reasons why we should revisit the custodial issue, we’re going to do that.”

A majority of the board had come to Thursday’s meeting prepared to lay off 13 custodial staff between both middle schools and the . Those let go were to be replaced with custodians supplied by Aramark Management Services at a cost of $715,935 for the 2012-2013 school year. Another $13,400 was earmarked for Edvocate School Support Services, a company the district hired last year to monitor Aramark’s work.

After hearing from the public, however, a majority of the board opposed resolutions to lay off custodians, expand the scope of Aramark’s contract with the district and hire Edvocate to monitor Aramark.

"I think they were caught off guard," said Mancinelli, referring to several board members who appeared genuinely torn on their votes after listening to pleas from the public. "I think they forgot why the whole thing was on the agenda to begin with."

Only Mancinelli ultimately voted for all three resolutions. Rosenberg and Susan Gioia abstained on the resolutions and all four other board members present voted against them. Board members Eugene Banta and Ron Barbarulo were absent at Thursay’s meeting.

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Tommy P April 24, 2012 at 05:20 PM
To answer your question, I have been in negotiations for large contracts, I am familiar with departmental outsourcing.
Chris Antonelli April 24, 2012 at 05:26 PM
In IT?
Rose April 25, 2012 at 12:57 PM
Heard that ARAMARK was in the High School measuring yesterday.
Damocles April 25, 2012 at 02:38 PM
@ Thomas Paine Do you really not see a way to balance this situation? Does reduction, in your opinion, always have to start at the bottom of a totem pole ? You remind me of a typical technocrat who is blind, deaf and numb to the world surrounding him. Everything in life translates into numbers for you since you, regardless of provenience, are unable to grasp a different point of view or put yourself in the shoes of someone with a different socio-economic backround. And that requires imagination , a quality that, for instance, all psychopaths lack. Empathy is another. Now, try to guess what percentage of american CEO's and other so called decision makers fit that profile. Study results have been published by 2 scientists from Berkley and MIT. If you're able to read between the lines conclusion should be very easy, with the finger of blame pointed in appropiate direction. Ergo, custodians, these hard working people ( granted - maybe not all of them ) are not overpaid and their salary levels should be a norm in a country like USA. I do understand though, that people with similar views would feel a sense of accomplishment if all those custodians were "rewarded" with minimum wage salaries.
Tommy P April 25, 2012 at 04:41 PM
@Damocles interesting choice for a screen name, welcome (back) to the patch :) As an American CEO, I compete to keep my employees, they are free to leave at anytime. I need to ensure that I compensate them well, or they will work for someone else. Conversely they work hard and stay current for our company. If they are over paid, there is no return for the investors. The private sector has built in mechanisms to find equilibrium. We are not forced to employ anyone, they are voluntarily employed by an employer who risks capital to run a business in hopes of making a profit. Government janitors are a bit different, they their employer (the taxpayer) is force to pay them under threat of force. Instead of competing for those jobs, there is a sense of entitlement. Governments often setup a bid process to ensure it pays a market rate. Cleaning a toilet, cutting the grass and the other services they perform can be done by the private sector and apparently for a lot less. Instead we have a system that elected officials provide increases year after year regardless of market forces. We have janitors who make $37,000 per person more than the private sector can deliver the same services. That OVER compensation is more then the median income in Fair Lawn per the most recent census.

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