Custodians to remain on job in Camden-Rockport schools
Camden — A huge sigh of relief could be heard coming from the cafeteria at Camden-Rockport Middle School April 16 when the School Administrative District 28 School Board voted unanimously not to outsource custodial services in the district.
“I may even get a good night sleep tonight,” said Maggie Massengale, custodial supervisor at the middle school. “It has been a long haul for all of us and I’m just glad to put it behind us.”
A Joint Committee on Outsourcing was created in June 2013 and charged with exploring if it would save the district money to contract custodial work at Camden Hills Regional High School, Camden-Rockport Middle School and Camden-Rockport Elementary School.
In December, the Five Town Community School District School Board voted not to outsource custodial services upon recommendation from the committee, which found no significant savings would result from outsourcing custodial work at the high school.
Maine School Administrative District 28 School Board Chairman Matthew Dailey said because there was a potential savings of nearly $370,000 during the next three years by outsourcing custodial work at the middle and elementary schools, the board felt a duty to take a serious look at outsourcing.
“I was very surprised to see such a savings; I didn’t think we would get any bids, let alone one that would represent that kind of money,” Dailey said.
Another reason, Dailey said, the board needed to address the issue at this time was to put it to rest and give Bangor-based Maine Real Estate Management the board's decision to accept the bid or not.
“They submitted a response to our request for proposal and they deserve to have an answer,” he said.
With the idea that everyday cleaning and custodial operations would not change, Dailey said the potential savings were based on the current rate of pay for custodians employed by the district.
“Through this process the board tried to respect everyone’s opinions and be thorough and considerate in what we were doing,” he said. “We are trying very hard to do the right thing and the difference in savings is all in the wages.”
Dailey continued, “Current custodians are paid what the board negotiated and the community OK’d and I just don’t think that the honorable or right thing to do is say ‘let’s subcontract’ and all of these other people who negotiated in good faith take it in the end.”
With a motion made and seconded to not outsource, a couple of community members spoke to make sure the board understood their position.
Mark Ratner spoke about research he had done online about the risks involved with outsourcing. Dailey replied the board also understood the risks and that was one of the factors that helped make the decision.
Thomas Murphy of Rockport simply asked the board’s permission to have the approximately 80 people in attendance stand if they did not support outsourcing, at which time 95 percent of the room came to their feet.
The board then voted unanimously to not outsource custodial services in SAD 28 and received a standing ovation.
Dwight Collins is a reporter/photographer for The Camden Herald.
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