The Drew Central School Board discussed the new custodial service during its regular board meeting Thursday night.
Superintendent Billy Williams told the board the service the district has been receiving from GCA Service Group has been below the district’s expectations.
“Some of it has been a bumpy road,” he told the board.
Williams said part of the problem is that the contract began on July 1, and much of the work that needed to be completed in June was not finished.
“Really you have to start in June in order to get it all done during the summer,” Williams said. “They started in July.”
He said he believed another part of the problem is that the company inherited many of the same employees that were originally employed by the District.
Board member Jason Cater said that one of his concerns in the beginning was that some of the employees inherited from the District would not change their old habits.
“I was concerned that if they didn’t do a good job for us, they weren’t going to do a good job for them,” Cater said.
Williams agreed by saying, “bottom line is it’s the people that are doing the job.”
Another problem is supplies.
Joy Graham, middle school principal, said she has a wonderful custodian who cleans the building really well, but there’s not enough supplies.
“We have enough paper towels for the restrooms, but we have sinks in our classrooms. We don’t have enough for every classroom to have paper towels,” Graham explained.
Graham also brought up another issue—substitutes.
“They said that they had plenty of subs, but what they do is bring other custodians from other buildings. I have yet to see a sub,” Graham said.
Deborah West, pre-k director, said her building had a toilet to overflow and she immediately called for a custodian. Some time later they sent someone to plunge it but, West said she and her staff had already plunged it and water continued to flow onto the floor. A custodian never came throughout the entire situation.
“It was a good thing it was during our recess,” West said. “Or we’d had preschoolers walking around in toilet water.
Board President Rene Knowles instructed Williams to tell GCA to fix the problems.
“We hired this company to take care of this, we want this company to fix it,” she said.
Knowles said she doesn’t care how the company corrects the issue; she just wants them fixed.
Cater added that the building principals should not have to hover over the custodial staff.
“That’s part of the reason we decided to outsource; so they would have a supervisor,” Cater said.
Laura Whitaker said she agreed with Cater and Knowles.
“Teachers and principals shouldn’t have to be constantly cleaning things up. They are busy shaping and molding students,” Whitaker said.
Should the problems not be fixed, Williams said the contract has a clause where the school can put them on notice that they aren’t performing as expected. If they still don’t perform as indicated in the contract, the district could sever ties with the company.
“I want this to work,” Knowles said. “But they are going to have to do what is expected of them.”