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Local News

Plainfield D-202 board reviews custodial services bids

PLAINFIELD – Plainfield School District 202 officials presented a breakdown of bids and costs for custodial services from three companies at Monday’s board meeting. 

The presentation of the bids comes as the Board of Education considers potentially outsourcing the district’s custodial services, much to the dismay of the support staff union, the Plainfield Association of Support Staff. 

PASS members were once again rallying against outsourcing as they’ve done since February. This time they were outside Freedom Elementary School before the board meeting. 

District 202 officials received bids from ABM, Aramark and GCA Service Group that they said in a news release met all district criteria and passed background checks and references. 

Three bids to outsource custodial services “promise to reduce costs between about $908,000 to $9.9 million over the next three years, depending on the number of positions employed, pay rates and benefits,” according to a news release. 

Under a three-year total cost analysis of six base bids from the three companies, GCA showed to mostly have the lowest cost, with the exception of base bid three from ABM. Aramark showed to have the most cost. 

For base bid one – where the bidder provides the price it will charge if it hires 190 positions at current rates of pay – GCA has a cost of about $25.8 million, compared with the district’s roughly $27.4 million, according to the cost analysis. 

District 202 has 190 custodial positions that work either 4, 6, 6.5 or 8 hours daily, district officials said. 

District officials said all bidders must offer employment to qualified current PASS members before the start of a contract, provide them with benefits comparable to what they currently receive and continue to require that all custodial staff pass stringent legal background checks. 

A public hearing on the bids will be held April 25. District officials said the board could but is not required to vote on bids at the meeting. 

Ann Bachman-McIntosh, IEA UniServ director, told the board during public comment she requested numerous times a complete copy of the unsealed bids. 

She said PASS needs the information to properly represent its members and prepare for bargaining. She said she received an email from an attorney stating the only information the union would receive is Monday’s presentation. 

“We made it very clear that we need the actual bids to make our own assessment of cost comparisons,” she said. 

Board member Rod Westfall addressed the apparent lack of trust between the board, administration and unions, saying in his 15 years as a board member the district has been “very transparent with our finances.” He said problems with the district lies with declining state funding. 

“We need to work together,” Westfall said. 

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