The Clock Is Ticking on a Major Decision

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The Rockford School District's maintenance staff is still working at keeping their jobs while the school board considers cutting them from the payroll. The last face to face encounter doesn't seal any deals. As of Monday night that is how the negotiations stand between the board and its custodians.

Both sides met for about two hours but say they are still coming up with different numbers. Tuesday night the Rockford School Board will go over the absolute final offers. The tension throughout the district is high as this is a very emotional issue. When all is said and done seven board members will vote “yes” or “no” to fire 190 custodians.

Board members have all of the proposals from the custodians in their hands. That saves the district $2.4 million. The outsourcing company, SBM Maintenance is said to save the district $3.5 million, but Rockford Building Maintenance Association President Jeff Phelan says their proposal would save the district $4.4 million. Phelan factors in the concessions they've made and what unemployment benefits the district would have to pay. As of Monday night, custodians are trying to remain positive and hope that each board member studies up.

Phelan says, “Hopefully it’s going to be positive. We have all the board members looking over the proposals. I hope they look and double check the numbers. Either way we are going to be okay.”

Tuesday night's vote is just to begin contract talks with the outsourcing company. The board’s decision is also going to dictate what RBMA’s next move will be. A negotiation session has been set for February.