School Budget Battle Continues

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(Memphis) More challenges are ahead for the Unified School Board after a decision to outsource custodial work.

The board now has to pick which company will get the contract to clean schools and save them more than 11 million dollars.

“700 jobs, 700 families that will be impacted,” said School Board Commissioner David Pickler.

It’s not just the custodial workers and their families who could affected from outsourcing.

Pickler says the board is one of the largest employers in the area and any decision impacting jobs will have a ripple effect, “The old Shelby County board made the decision to outsource custodial work because of the savings it would provide for us."

About five years ago when that decision was made, only half of the custodians kept their jobs.

Pickler says half is better than nothing.

Currently, members of the MCS janitorial staff earn $10-12 an hour.

Moving forward. Pickler believes the board need to choose the company that will have the least negative impact on employees.

That means negotiating with the winning company to keep a chunk of the 25 million spent on cleaning schools, in Shelby County.

“There is going to be an awful lot of people who are negatively impacted by this merger. I’m talking jobs could be lost, schools could be closed, hard decisions will have to be made, last night was the first of many that will have to be made,” said Pickler.

The commissioner hopes in the end, Shelby County will have a school district with which families will can be happy.