By the end of January, the Rockford School Board will decide whether to outsource custodial services.
After months of protest, visually and vocally, it all comes down to one company. Superintendent Dr. Dennis Thompson is recommending SBM Maintenance based out of Chicago.
Thompson says, "It's three and a half million dollars of savings. I'm pleased we've done due diligence. This is a good match for us."
But to RBMA President, Jeff Phelen, the current custodians he says can not be replaced. Phelen hopes the board, who will make the ultimate decision, will see past the savings.
Phelen states, "We’ve done our jobs educating them as to what they will get for their dollars. We've done a lot of homework and hopefully the board will see that."
Phelen says the savings that a company may present in the beginning may look good but some hidden costs may be added. The board has already decided to subcontract six site maintenance workers. Phelen says the invoice from AA Construction for one day of plowing 28 schools is already over their initial estimate.
Phelen tells 23 News, “The invoice came in and it's a lot higher than the numbers were supposed to be. Will this be true for custodians?”
But Dr. Thompson says the contract they have with AA Construction and Tyler Landscaping is for nine snow removals and 20 grass cuttings.
Thompson states, "It's a combination of snow removal and grass cuttings and I can adjust the number of times that is done over the summer, so yes, we are going to realize the savings."
Board members intend to further study the proposal and call some other districts that already contract out with SBM. Their final decision is expected to come January 25.