First Glimpse at Outsourcing Bids

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The Rockford School Board members begin to discuss hiring a private company to maintain and keep our schools clean.

This is just the start of the discussion to outsource about 186 custodians with the Rockford school district. Tuesday night, the board listened to the top three proposals, but not before hearing the community's concerns.

A large number of people spoke to the decision makers about outsourcing the custodian staff. Their concerns ranged from potential theft to the students safety. Many questioned how hiring strangers could benefit the district.

The district received 11 bids and the top three were presented to the board. The companies are ABM Janitorial Service, SNM Maintenance Contractors and Elite Maintenance.

Here’s a little background; ABM corporate office is located in San Francisco and the other two are based out of Chicago suburbs.

Through salaries, benefits and other costs the district spends about $8.7 million on custodial services in 2005. Under ABM’s plan the district could save over $4 million. The other two plans save the district over $3 million, but some board members question if that is worth what could be lost.

Board member Karol Hammond stated, “At what cost can we replace these individuals? Has out-costing been studies and on the grounds and responsibilities? Have figures been looked at and are they accurate?

Rockford Superintendent Dr. Dennis Thompson is encouraging the community to do their research as he too has done on these companies. In two weeks all three of these companies will be in town speak at the next board meeting on November 23, 2004.