KINNELON, NJ — School officials and residents urged the Kinnelon Education Association (KEA) to bargain in earnest and make concessions that will make it financially viable for the district to keep its in-house custodial staff, according to NorthJersey.com.
"Your Kinnelon school board is considering replacing our trusted custodians with a private company. This will have a detrimental effect on the culture within the school and on the education delivered. Other districts that have chosen to fracture their school communities in this manner have experienced problems with theft, vandalism and safety issues. These issues have disrupted the continuity of instruction and changed the school climate," said a mailing KEA sent home to parents.
According to Richard Beeferman, the board''s finance chairman, the district currently spends more than $1.4 million on custodial services: The board hired Edvocate of Toms River to prepare bid specifications for the outsourcing. Initially Edvocate gave a rough estimate of $250,000 for cost savings.
The board did something unique when it drew up bid specifications in that it provided an incentive to bidders to hire the existing staff. If the company does not hire the existing staff, it will owe the district $50,000 to offset unemployment benefit costs, the article stated.
According to the article, there are many misconceptions regarding privatization: The custodial staff of Aramark undergoes the exact same state background check as existing Kinnelon employees, plus they undergo a private background check and will not begin employment until the results of the background checks are complete.
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