Fayette Schools custodians express concern about district hiring contractor to clean Central Office

Fayette County Public Schools central offices at 701 East Main Street, Lexington.
Fayette County Public Schools central offices at 701 East Main Street, Lexington. Herald-Leader

Custodians at Fayette County Schools say they are upset about a proposed pilot program that will use an outside cleaning contractor at the district's Central Office.

Other custodians in the district are concerned that their jobs will be outsourced as well, said Frankie Langdon, who becomes president of the Fayette County Education Support Professionals Association in September.

Langdon said she expects some custodians to express their concerns at an Aug. 25 school board meeting.

But Fayette Superintendent Tom Shelton said Friday that the pilot "is not the beginning of eliminating custodians or maintenance employees districtwide."

"We have a proposal going before the school board this month that would pilot the outsourcing of janitorial services for our main district offices at 701 East Main Street," Shelton said. "We want to determine if the use of contracted services for cleaning is a more effective and efficient use of district resources in our building."

Shelton said that because of personnel changes on the custodial staff "we had an opportunity to consider a different approach to keeping the building clean."

Shelton said the recommendation was developed to address the unique needs of Central Office, which is a heavily used facility.

"It is almost impossible to keep up with cleaning cycles when a building is used 365 days per year," Shelton said.

Last year, the district had six custodians at Central Office. Under the recommended proposal, the district will continue to have three full-time custodians in addition to a contracted nighttime cleaning crew.

Langdon said three untenured custodians at the district offices lost their jobs at the end of the school year.

On Aug. 25, board members will be asked to approve an annual contract with a company called Facilities Management Services for $106,102, according to a board document.

The contract includes daily cleaning, carpet cleaning, window washing, and floor waxing.

The last fiscal year expenditure for those services was $107,841, the board documents said.

Aside from the possible loss of their jobs, custodians are concerned that outside employees might not be held as accountable to keep students safe, said Langdon, a media technician.

"They are just concerned because they are lifelong dedicated employees, and they work really hard in our district, and they serve us well," she said.