Outsourcing custodian jobs to save Hampton Schools $2 million

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by Karen Hopkins, 13News Now

WVEC.com

Posted on August 27, 2014 at 3:55 PM

Updated Wednesday, Aug 27 at 6:27 PM

HAMPTON -- Outsourcing custodian jobs is expected to save Hampton Schools about $2 million this year.

Education money is tight and all schools are looking for ways to clean up their budgets.

"I thought we had been cut so far in the school division that we wouldn't suffer any more cuts. What else could you take away?" Hampton teacher Sandi Diana asked.

Diana was shocked when she learned Hampton decided to eliminate custodians as school employees, cutting out their benefits.

"That's not right," said parent Julia Lane.  "These people have been here for years and they're just getting rid of their retirement.

While Lane doesn't like the idea, mom Sharlene Williams understands why school leaders are outsourcing the jobs.

"If it saves money, I think it would be good, be able to save money, put more money into the children and the schools and the resources they need," Williams said. 

Hampton School Board faces potential $7M shortfall

Despite being able to wipe away thousands of dollars in expenses, most local school districts are not outsourcing custodians.

Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Newport News, Chesapeake and Suffolk are keeping janitors as school employees. Suffolk swept away the plan after parents protested in favor of custodians.

"They are like part of our family," Diana said.

It was the custodians who prepared Diana's classroom after she underwent several surgeries. She was heartbroken that Hampton ended up outsourcing the jobs. Janitors had to reapply for their positions to work for the new contractor, for less pay.

"Immediately I felt like we were going to lose some really good people that really cared about our kids,” Diana said. 
 

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