School District to Privatize Custodial Services

By: Jeff Proctor Email
By: Jeff Proctor Email

The DeWitt school board voted unanimously to privatize the district's custodial services Monday night. At least 14 employees will be laid off when Grand Rapids Building Services takes over. The company was one of four that bid for the contract.

Union leaders told wilx.com the savings won't be worth losing people who grew up in the community and have a vested interest in the district's success. But the board president says the $250,000 annual savings will help prevent cuts that affect students in the classroom.


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  • by Frank Location: Dewitt on Jul 1, 2009 at 07:28 AM
    It is so sad to let hard working people go that have devoted their careers to the school system. From what I heard the school system is bleeding money. How many of us keep spending until every cent is gone in our own checkbooks then hold out our hands and pray someone will save us? Not many I bet. The school is adjusting to a different standard of living, as we all must do in hard times. To do otherwise would be irresponsible. What is better for Dewitt? Bankrupting the school in two years and sending our kids to St. Johns / Lansing / Grand Ledge, or tightening the belt? Losing people is tragic, but when so much of the budget is the cost of people, what choice is there? The real problem here is that Michigan should be a right to work state, not a union employment agency. Has anyone noticed our jobs moving to right to work states, or out of the country? If the 1950's ever return, Michigan will be ready! (If anyone is still here...)
  • by Power Grab on Jul 1, 2009 at 05:42 AM
    I said it once and I'll say it again. We need leaders, not power mongers. Power mongers don't listen they just take and grab. This is what todays politicians have become, its sad it has made it all the way down to the level of school boards. School boards have digressed and are puting their interests ahead of the community. It is up to the community to set standards not a few power brokers. You have two choices: recall or vote them out. 2010 is 6 months away and I hope we can reverse the direction our government is headed. Republicans and Democrats have both betrayed the American Public. We need fresh faces from top to bottom and we need lawmakers willing to serve the public not the other way around.
  • by another dewittiot on Jun 30, 2009 at 03:22 PM
    I have also been told that the district's teachers offered to take a 2% pay cut to offset the cost of keeping the district's custodians. Sounds to me like the board was not going to listen to anyone and that they had their mind made up.
  • by dewitt resident on Jun 30, 2009 at 02:20 PM
    I wonder what will happen when a child gets sick and vomits? Will these privatized custodians clean it up? Or will they punch out sick and go home? I wonder what the overtime charges will be like and how much they will eat into the "savings" when a football game or basketball game is a mess--and we all know athletics runs the DeWitt schools. I wonder if this new cost savings includes having a custodian at the school during the school day, or if custodians will only be there at night? I wonder what kind of pride these contracted employees will take in their building? Having a custodian who is proud of their building saves money on upkeep in the long run. This was a bad decision from top to bottom.
  • by jen on Jun 30, 2009 at 12:17 PM
    I agree with the person who said let some of the board members go, I beleive the custodians are more important,to the schools,we're supposed have the swine flu, this fall we need these caring people to keep our schools clean,and our kids safe.
  • by Ruth Location: DeWitt on Jun 30, 2009 at 11:22 AM
    I am one the custodians with 23 years of service . And I want you all to know that this was totally unavoidable. The money is there . All of the communities cries to not let this happen fell on absolute deaf ears by the board. Not one would look us in the eye as we were shuffled out of the meeting . It sickens me to know my friends have been let go like sweeping dirt under the rug.
  • by Carla Location: DeWitt on Jun 30, 2009 at 08:46 AM
    How many board members do have children in the district? Not the President anymore, never the Superintendt, and not @ least 3 others....this is how years of loyalty and personal attention to detail is rewarded. The community doesn't matter anymore, it's all paper and ink...and with the custodians offering to take a paycut, to keep their jobs too! The head money person doesn't even have a child in the district, the staff was all expendable - the bottom line will come back and haunt them. Who's next on the board's list? They should be ashamed of themselves. Saturday bussing was reversed, since in DeWitt it takes something drastic and/or painful to promote change.
  • by Bethany Location: Grand Ledge on Jun 30, 2009 at 07:34 AM
    Thanks to all the custodians that devoted much of their life to their work...serving the DeWitt community for so many years! You often worked behind the scenes...but your hard work never went unnoticed! Dad...thanks for all of your hard work over many years to the DeWitt Public Schools...they don't know what they are losing. As the board (not the community) made a decision to cut your job yesterday...you were on your way to serve on a mission trip!!! Wish they knew what a huge heart you had...for your job...for the teachers and students of DeWitt...and for everyone you have served over the years... And even though this is a sad day...you'll find a way to continue to give unselfishly of yourself. I LOVE YOU DAD!!!
  • by SAMEOLDSAMEOLD Location: LANSING on Jun 30, 2009 at 07:32 AM
    The Board needs to be contracted out, also. Imagine the savings to the community then! The current staff are supporting members of the community, with children attending Dewitt schools. What will this do to THEIR children? Remember "NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND?" I guess this doesn't apply to EVERYONE, eh?
  • by Anonymous Location: DeWitt on Jun 30, 2009 at 06:59 AM
    I am so very saddened that this has happened to our custodians. There have got to be other ways to "keep the money in the classroom." These people have been friends to staff and students for many years and are now being let go. A very poor decision and a disgrace to the district.
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