"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Monday, November 25, 2013

Privatized Custodial Services Bring Corporate Windfalls and Dirty Schools to Memphis

Since school fragmentation consolidation went into effect in Shelby County (Memphis) Schools, the lawyers in charge of SCS have been trying to save every dime they can to pay for the $212 million dollar donut hole created to pay for corporate welfare charter reform schools for the urban poor.

Part of the savings came by way of relieving staff custodians of their jobs as the County accepted an offers from bottom-feeding outfit in Knoxville, GCA, to save money by privatizing cleaning services.  In the process, those workers who re-applied for their jobs had union affiliation eliminated, retirement plans axed, and salaries cut.

And what is SCS getting in their race to the bottom? Just what they paid for:

. . . .Principals and teachers have filed numerous complaints about the condition of restrooms, lunchroom tables and classrooms. A principal Friday said the restrooms smell at the end of the day and that he’s never seen the floors and sinks as dirty as they are.
Principals have said the mop heads are no longer replaced weekly and that floors are dusted with dirty mops and not buffed.
Last week, Hopson told the school board he was close to a potential solution. “We are very concerned with the flu season coming up. It’s fundamental to clean schools the way they need to be cleaned. This is not good for kids.”
Board members said they had heard similar complaints.
Last summer, the board voted to outsource the cleaning in legacy Memphis schools to Knoxville-based GCA, which held the contract in legacy Shelby County Schools. Aramark was the low bidder by more than $200,000, but GCA score higher in seven categories, including pay, benefits and minority participation.
Outsourcing saved the board $12 million, but from the beginning, there have been complaints that the workers were continually changing, didn’t clean as thoroughly as the higher-paid district employees and used questionable products and cleaning methods.
Workers say they have been told by GCA not to talk to media. They say privately that they are paid $9 an hour, but were promised $9.50. They also say they are expected to clean the same square footage with smaller crews.
School custodians lost their union affiliation when GCA took over.
Former Memphis City Schools custodians who took jobs with GCA took roughly a 25 percent pay cut. Many did not apply. When GCA could not fill all the positions, it subcontracted with ServiceMaster to clean 45 schools

Applicants said GCA required background and credit checks. They understood background checks but were angry about credit audits. . . .


  1. Anonymous2:32 PM

    GCA is Some BULLSHIT!

  2. Anonymous7:47 PM

    Sounds like the same issues being "enjoyed" in Utica Community Schools located in Sterling Heights Michigan. The problem here??? A superintendent too bull headed to
    admit she made the worst mistake ever made at UCS. Way to go Dr Johns... your are truly a Monument of Mismanagement.