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UPDATE: Schools will not outsource custodial duties

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By Thomas Barr

 UPDATE (02/19): Bullitt County Public Schools have made the decision to discontinue its pursuit of seeking outside companies for custodial duties in county schools.

A discussion at Tuesday's school board meeting will not take place as a result of this decision.

Check Monday's edition of The Pioneer News and www.pioneernews.net for a full update on the story.

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District may outsource cleaning of area schools

SHEPHERDSVILLE - Bullitt County Public Schools superintendent Keith Davis has found a way that might save the district $240,000 a year.

However, that proposal could mean that up to 80 employees would lose their jobs.

Davis will meet with members of the district’s custodial staff today at Bullitt Central High School to discuss his proposal to outsource the cleaning services.

A letter was distributed to staff members on Monday to invite them to the voluntary meeting. After making a brief presentation, Davis said he would open it up to questions. The meeting is not open to the general public.

“I know the meeting will be ugly,” said Davis. “And I see the consequences for the individuals.”

In looking for ways to save money, Davis said the possibility has been discussed informally for several years. After inquiries were made into possible costs of outsourcing the service, Davis believes the district could save $240,000 annually.

In addition, there might be more cleaning hours made available by the outside service.

“This is a long process,” said Davis. “It is not a done deal.”

Instead of letting the employees hear about his proposal after Tuesday’s school board meeting, the superintendent said a meeting was set up for Wednesday.

After Wednesday’s meeting, Davis said the proposal is set for next week’s board agenda.

If the board believes it is an idea worth pursuing, proposals will be solicited and then the five members would evaluate the bids.

At that point, the board would have to decide whether the plan would be worth doing.

“This is the first step of the process,” said Davis.

He said 80 employees would be affected. If the proposal becomes reality, he said some could retire and the winning vendor could retain others.

Davis said none of the companies the district has talked with have local operations. He also wanted to investigate whether bid specifications could include that a certain number of existing employees must be hired.

Prior to getting to this point, Davis said several district employees looked at schools in Tennessee that outsource their cleaning services. Both districts were pleased with the results.

There had also been some discussions with possible vendors about the county’s situation.

The bottom line, according to Davis, is that he is challenged with controlling expenses and providing as much funding as possible for curriculum. Saving $240,000 that could be used in areas such as career and college readiness is his responsibility.

“It would be irresponsible to not make a proposal if there is a way we can save $250,000,” said Davis.

At the same time, Davis said he understands that the board members may not be interested in pursuing the issue.

Informal talks have mentioned the possibility but Davis said this is the first formal presentation board members will hear.

“This is not easy. I hate it,” said Davis. “However, with state funding cuts, we have been challenged to look for waste. They (board members) know there are more needs than dollars to go around.”