Cleaning Away Fears About Outsourcing

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Tuesday night the Rockford School Board gets their first look at what outsourcing 190 maintenance workers could do for the district's finances.

23 News followed a janitor around who has been through many ups and downs in his 26 years with the district.

"I still have kids that were here the first year I was here,” is what building engineer Sam Ellman recalls.

For the past 15 years he has been one familiar face at Page Park School. Some of his day to day tasks include checking the pools chlorine level, ordering supplies and keeping this special education school germ free.

Ellman says, "This is something you just can't go and do. It's been 26 years of moving up the ranks and every year you learn more."

A list he showed 23 News proves the ongoing education he receives daily. Ellman says daily he is put in many situations that are new and unpredictable.

"I do 10 times more cleanup than most others, but it's the biggest thing to make sure it's the cleanest environment for the kids," Ellman stated.

The students ages six to 21 call him Mr. Sam and each have earned a special place in his heart.

He emphasizes that, "These are my kids and I care deeply about them. Yea, it's a fight trying to make people understand what we do."

These days he's been trying to wash away his concerns about the potential outsourcing, but with a family to support he says he can't be the provider with less money and no insurance.

Ellman says, "What do I do, get four, five jobs? I'd never see my family again. It weighs big time on my mind. I don't sleep good at night."

He just hopes all the restless nights are worth it if he gets to keep his job and his position that he calls “a perfect match.”

Rockford Superintendent Dr. Dennis Thompson will provide the board Tuesday night with his research about outsourcing maintenance workers.