Outsourcing considered by multiple school districts

Author: , Reporter, @CatherineH_WFMZ, chawley@wfmz.com
Published: Jun 27 2013 08:00:00 PM EDT   Updated On: Jun 27 2013 11:47:49 PM EDT

School board officials in Quakertown say dollars and cents are driving the push to hire outside vendors for custodial work. Thursday night a small group angered by the idea gave the school board an earful.

Last month the Quakertown Community School Board voted unanimously to outsource the food service managers in the district. Now staff members are concerned that about 43 custodial positions could be next.

Protesters greeted folks as they walked into the Quakertown Community School Board meeting. It wasn't on the agenda, but a handful of people angered over a proposal to outsource custodial work let members know how they feel.

"Outsourcing the custodians will have disastrous consequences for our children and the community," shared Victor Bartholomew.

"This will be a decision each of you will be able to remember as one that caused financial hardship on your community members, the loss of hardworking people's jobs, and putting children's safety in jeopardy," added Sherry Weaver.

In May, 35 food service workers escaped being outsourced by taking pay cuts and other concessions.

"Is it a budget issue?" "Yes," answered School Board President Bob Smith. "Bottom line is it's dollars."

School officials are still in negotiations with the custodians, and outsourcing their work is not off the table.

"We're trying to come up with some concessions that they're willing to accept," explained Quakertown Community Support Staff President Scott Hendricks. "But unfortunately up to this point seems like every time we make concessions they say they want more."

The current contract with the district's support personnel ends June 30th. No word when a decision may be made about the custodial workers.

"It will be a decision that you will be remembered for," warned Weaver. "But each of you is going to be remembered negatively and each of you is going to be remembered as you could have made the right decision."

Other school districts in the area, including Allentown, are also considering outsourcing some staff.