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New Custodial Firm Vows To Clean Up School Issues

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
New Custodial Firm Vows To Clean Up School Issues

Putnam County Schools has a new maintenance firm trying to fix a long-standing issue with custodial work across the system.

The new $295,000 contract with ABM runs through June 30 after receiving approval from the School Board. Putnam County Schools Deputy Director Tim Martin said the new firm will employee workers 52 weeks per year, including all breaks.

“I think we will get, not only will we get extra hours of service, but we will get better employees for the service because they’re not going to get laid off every nine weeks and have to take a couple of weeks off under break,” Martin said.

Martin said ABM is proposing a higher number of employees and the company has more resources than the previous firm. Current maintenance staff members are eligible to be hired by the new firm, but must apply.

The new agreement also includes specific penalties the school system can employ. In one example, if a problem at a school is not fixed twice during a 12-month period, that facility can be removed from the contract.

“I believe in the team that we’ve put together, and I think we’ve kind of conveyed that in what we’ve offered you from a proposal standpoint,” ABM’s Scott Newell told the School Board. “We’re bulking up the management, we’re bulking up the pay, the 52 weeks a year. Tim hit the nail on the head. It’s only going to help attract, retain people in a lot better capacity.”

The School Board voted to end its contract with a previous firm earlier this school year because of continuing issues that were unresolved. It’s the second firm in the last several years the system parted with. Martin said recent attempts to go with smaller firms which the system hoped would mean more personalized service, did not work out.

“I feel like every time we go through a janitorial contract, we go through this,” School Board Chair Kim Cravens said. “We get tired of getting pictures from our schools. We do. And we don’t want our kids to have to be around that. Our teachers shouldn’t have to be around that. And everybody says they can always deliver. And I want you to look at us and tell us you’re going to deliver and you’re going to hold true to the contract.”

The School Board approved the contract Thursday.


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