Rock Hill schools restore custodians to full-year employees

dworthington@heraldonline.comApril 22, 2013 

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    Generally, district custodians will be responsible for the commons areas of the schools while contract workers will be responsible for cleaning the classrooms and corridors.

    There are also teams of traveling district custodians who will be responsible for the athletic areas at each high school and the bathrooms.

    Cox said the revised plan should increase custodial services to the high-use commons areas of the schools.

    Tony Lancaster, an assistant principal at Northwestern High School and a member of the study group, said having a clean school is essential for learning. “If a school is not clean, learning won’t take place.”

    Tony Cox, the associate superintendent for administrative services, said the school hopes to have the plan in place by June. He said the goal is to make the changes without increasing the budget.

    In other action Monday, the school board declined to consider a request by member Walter Brown to increase the district’s reserve fund from 12 percent to 17 percent of the overall budget. He said the policy had been 18 percent, but was reduced during recent tight economic times. Brown’s request died when no other board member seconded his request.

— The Rock Hill school district is restoring some of the cuts it made to its custodial staff in the summer of 2011.

Custodians will now work 12 months a year instead of 10. The workday will remain at seven hours.

The changes were presented Monday at the monthly meeting of the Rock Hill school board.

In 2011, the school system reduced the hours of its in-house custodians and hired an outside contractor to help clean the schools as a way to save money. The action followed a consultant’s report that said Rock Hill should scale back its custodial services because its costs were higher than average.

A team of custodians and school administrators have been studying how the changes worked. They presented their findings and recommendations Monday.

The team recommended that school custodians work the early shift while students are at school and contract custodians work in the evening to clean classrooms.

Michael Cox, director of custodial services for the schools, said the division of labor should help build relationships between the system’s custodians and the teachers and administrators. It also removes some security concerns of having contract workers in the building when students are present.

Custodians attending Monday’s meeting said the changes answered some of their concerns.

“They were considerate and sincere,” South Pointe High School custodian Randy P. Hope said of the school board members. “They’ll get no grief from me. We’re really pleased.” Hope has worked for the school district for 14 years.

Cox said the schools may need to hire as many as eight employees to have enough custodians for early, or first, shift.

Other recommendations of the committee include better communication between the school and contract cleaners and more specifically defined work for the contract crews in the evening and in the summer.

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