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Chesterfield school board to vote on ending outsourced custodial work

CHESTERFIELD, Va - Chesterfield schools could soon change course again on outsourcing custodial work at schools. Officials have advised the school board to not renew their contact with the company that currently carries out those duties.

In a memo to school board members, Chesterfield Superintendent James Lane said Service Solutions Corporation (SSC) had contractually agreed to meet a particular standard of cleanliness in 90% of Chesterfield schools, but has only achieved that level in 20% of schools. Lane said the contract would not be renewed, and suggested going back to in-house custodians at Chesterfield schools.

Chesterfield Schools outsourced custodial work in 2014 in an effort to save money. Starting only a few months after the switch was made, CBS 6 reported on several instances where parents and students were concerned with the standard of cleanliness inside school buildings.

Jeanine Taylor, a parent of an eight grader at Providence Middle School, said she noticed a change almost immediately. Taylor said cleanliness issues have persisted ever since, and she noticed it not long ago while working on costumes for a school play. 

"We were in a classroom every day for two weeks and the trash never got taken out. We finally had to walk it down the hallway and dump it in the custodial bin,” Taylor said.

At their meeting Tuesday night, School Board members will consider Lane’s proposal. Chesterfield school officials have said bringing custodial work back in-house will cost millions of dollars initially and more than $7 million more each year over their current spending level.

Local school advocates said the change in heart shows the district should have never outsourced custodial work in the first place.

Taylor said she does not fault the school district from trying to save money, but that her daughter’s school buildings have been noticably dirtier since 2014.

"The schools didn’t used to be this dirty,” Taylor said. "If were not going to take care of our schools, it’s going to cost us money in the long run.”

The school board is expected to vote on bringing custodial services back in house Tuesday night. Their meeting begins at 6pm at the Chesterfield County Public Meeting room at 10001 Iron Bridge Rd.