Private firm begins hiring for custodial jobs at schools

Filed under DAYTONA BEACH

BY JAMES HARPER
DAYTONA TIMES

A jobs fair for custodial workers in Volusia County Schools took place Aug. 6 and 7 at Mainland High School in Daytona Beach and Galaxy Middle School in DeLand.

The fair was conducted by Aramark, a private firm chosen by the county earlier this year to perform their custodial services.

“We have transitioned a majority of the Volusia County schools custodial employees. but we are still hiring for additional positions,” Karen Cutler, Director of Communications, stated in an email to the Daytona Times this week.

“ARAMARK has partnered with Volusia County Schools for 25 years. We provide a complete range of food, facility, uniform and other support services to more than 500 K-12 school districts in the U.S,” Cutler added.

Millions saved
By outsourcing custodial work, the School District of Volusia County projects it will save an estimated $30.3 million over a period of five years. These savings exceed earlier projections by the district.

On Feb. 12, the School Board authorized the superintendent, Dr. Margaret Smith, to proceed with a request for proposals (RFP) for private firms to provide custodial services beginning on July 1.

The superintendent stated that she would recommend contracting with a private firm only if it would result in substantial cost savings to help the district meet its obligation to have a balanced budget for the 2013-2014 fiscal years in the face of a significant budget deficit.

Who sent proposals
Volusia County School spokesperson Nancy Wait said in a press release that Aramark providing custodial services “is part of a larger and ongoing effort to achieve cost savings to protect student instructional programs, services and activities from further major budget cuts.”

The school district has eliminated nearly 2,000 positions since 2007.

The district’s current custodial services expenditures for fiscal year 2013 are $17.6 million. Five firms submitted proposals on April 5 in response to the RFP. They were Aramark Education, $11.5 million; DTZ, Inc., $11.1 million; GCA Educational Services, Inc., $11.4 million; ISS Facility Services, $10.9 million; and Owens, Renz, & Lee, Inc., $13.4 million.

Review process
Wait said each proposal was thoroughly reviewed by an evaluation committee to determine the lowest responsible bid. Aramark Education received the highest ratings by the committee, which recommended to the superintendent that the school board authorize district staff to begin negotiations with Aramark Education.

“We are committed to a smooth transition. Steps have been taken to ensure an opportunity for our hardworking custodians to be employed by a private vendor,” said Smith.

“This process demonstrates that a private provider can meet our level of service, save millions of dollars and offer the same salary to our custodians.”

Lawn maintenance contract
The School District of Volusia also recently award contract to GCA Educational Services, Inc. to perform grounds keeping services, such as lawn maintenance.

Twenty-eight employees currently provide groundskeeping services for the district.

A press release said that using GCA Education Services would save Volusia County Schools an estimated $3.88 million over a period of five years.

Those interested in information about jobs at Volusia Schools in a custodial capacity who didn’t attend the jobs fair can call 386-575-4214, ext. 40042.

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