Skip to comments.Expensive Janitorial Contract Forces Cuts
Posted on 05/22/2012 8:28:35 PM PDT by MichCapCon
While the state of Michigan was facing a $1.5 billion deficit in 2009, the Ortonville-Brandon Public School Board of Education signed a four-year deal with its custodians and maintenance people that would pay for 90 percent of their health care premiums.
The family plan for the luxurious MESSA health plan cost $17,171 in 2010 or about $2,000 less than what it could have cost the district to pay the salary of a new custodian.
The four-year contract meant that Gov. Rick Snyder's education reform law that says public employees have to pay 20 percent of their health care premium couldn't be imposed until after the contract expires in 2013.
The plan, however, became too expensive, and this week the district announced that it was privatizing its custodians.
That announcement triggered a student protest.
In a press release, Superintendent Lorraine McMahon said subcontracting custodian services would save the district $250,000 a year.
Michael Van Beek, education policy director at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, questioned how a district could promise such luxurious benefits at a time the states economic woes were so well publicized.
"I'd like to see the projections the school district was looking at that led them to believe they could continue to pay 90 percent of the health insurance for its custodians for four years, after being in the midst of the Great Recession," Van Beek said. "They made a big mistake in 2009 by promising this level of compensation for four years. Now, they are realizing this mistake by really reducing their cost by privatizing or hiring new employees at $7 less per hour because it is an unsustainable model."
The original agreement had custodians making $17.35 an hour in 2009-10 after the first year, or roughly a $36,000 annual salary. Thats in line with other public school districts in the state, according to documents received in a Freedom of Information Act request.
However, after that first year, custodians would have their salaries slashed by 7.6 percent to $16.03 an hour. But even more interesting was that any new custodians hired after July 1, 2010 would start at $9.50 an hour a 45 percent reduction from the starting salary in 2009-10.
School and union officials didnt respond to requests for comments. However, the Oakland Press quoted custodian Doug Grubbs as saying the contracted custodians would make between $8.40 and $9 an hour.
Van Beek said that because the district can now get rid of the MESSA insurance plan, Ortonville-Brandon may be able to save money and still have more custodians.
McMahon didn't respond to an email seeking comment.
Teamsters Local 214 Steward Randy Carpenter didnt respond to a message left on his voice mail. Information from the story was taken from the union contract and an analysis of documents posted on the school districts website.
“That announcement triggered a student protest.”
why? Unless provoked I doubt the kids would care.
In Detroit I am not sure if 8-10 bucks an hour is good money for sweeping floors. But I’ll bet people will line up for the jobs.
more proof that once the host has gone dry STOP SUCKING or it’ll cut you off. Stupid union.
Come to think of it, 1 hour pay could just buy you a whole block of houses in Detroit...
The expensive contracts are at the admistration level. They cut 10 percent of the administrators and give the rest a 10 percent cut and the school budget would be fine.
Haha greedy scum got what they deserved.
$17 an hour is hardly greedy scum. Does anyone know how much the administrators are paid? How many administrators are there.
We had a school administrator speak at our Lions Club. She was complaining about the looming budget cuts. At our table we started doing the math, what it would take to come up with the budget cuts.
We needed one bit of information so we asked. How many adminstrators are their in the school district? I forget the exact number be we were shocked at how many. We gave each an average salary of $100,000 a year, did the math and found out if they trimmed 5 percent the budget would be balanced.
Instead they went after the janitors, then the sports programs, eliminated buses to take kids to school. And the budget is still not balanced. It is not the janitors making $17 an hour that are the problem.
it is when they want a $17,000 dollar insurance package and won’t compromise on it. I will agree that the administrators need to be cut as well. The health insurance is killing our state. It was stated last year that the state could save 500 million a year by taking the control of the insurance from the MEA and dealing direct with AAA. I believe that was the number anyway check it with the Mackinaw Center to be exact. I am sorry I have no pity on any school staff. They are getting a failing grade in my book. To many of our kids are getting the short end because of the unions.
You can't have one group of employees (janitors) on one insurance plan and another groups of employees (administrators) on a different plan. I'm pretty sure that is how the law is applied.
Again, it is not the janitors.
If the administrators cut the janitor's benefits, they would have to cut their own benefits. The Janitors probably just happened to be the first contract up.
This is how it is in our state anyhow. Now I could be wrong in all this but I'd guess that is how it all came about. The Administrators knowing that their health insurance deal would be changed if they changed it for the janitors decided to let the janitors have the benefit.
The ones who are really to blame in all this are the legislators. They need to pass a state law setting what the benefits will be at school districts. The legislators are not doing their job. That is where the problem lies.