Archive for Tuesday, April 12, 2011

PCI contract might mean more pink slips in USD 204

April 12, 2011

Over the next school year, USD 204 could save $180,000, says facilities director John Scheurer. But that savings might come with a hefty price: The jobs of several district custodians.

On the agenda for the April 18 board meeting is a presentation from PCI Building Services, a contracted cleaning service that currently cleans three of the district’s five schools: Edwardsville Elementary, Delaware Ridge Elementary and Clark Middle School. PCI officials will present a proposal Monday night to clean all five schools, including Bonner Springs Elementary and Bonner Springs High School.

The change could mean pink slips for the 12 custodians currently employed by the district, Superintendent Robert VanMaren said.

“It’s a potential, yes,” he said. “ … But we’ve been pleased with the service so far and we’re trying to look at every possibility that can save us money over the next … couple (years) in particular.”

USD 204 originally hired PCI four years ago, in the 2007-2008 year, to clean DRE when it first opened, Scheurer said. The company has been cleaning Edwardsville Elementary the past three years and CMS for a year-and-a-half. Several custodian positions have already been eliminated in the process, VanMaren said.

Scheurer said the district currently pays about $787,000 annually to clean the district buildings, and that includes about $405,000 in salaries for the 12 custodians, $347,000 for the current contract with PCI and about $35,000 in cleaning supplies at BSHS and BSE. He said the district could expect to see a savings of $180,000 in the 2011-2012 school year if the board approves PCI’s proposal, which offers a discounted rate for adding all five schools.

But that might be a big “if” come Monday night. Board member Dave Pierce said losing any more staff members due to budget cuts would be a difficult pill for him to swallow. He said it wasn’t always clear how best to balance the budget each year, “but hopefully there’s another way to do it without … losing any more jobs in the district.”

Still, Pierce noted there weren’t a lot of options left at this point.

“The bad thing is we’ve done a lot of whittling, whittled the fat off the bone for the last few years, so it’s coming down to where there’s not a whole lot left to do but probably have bigger class sizes,” Pierce said.

VanMaren said the district’s limited options are exactly why the board should consider PCI’s proposal.

“Nobody likes to cut positions … we’re to the point right now that these are the final cuts that we can make without increasing class size or cutting programs,” he said. “So that’s where we are.”

The Board of Education will meet at 7 p.m. Monday, April 18, at the district office, 2200 S. 138th St.

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