Administrators of Metro Nashville Public Schools have selected Cleveland, Ohio-based GCA Services Group Inc. to take over custodial services at the district’s schools.
A contract to pay the company around $20 million per year is contingent on approval by the Metro Nashville Board of Education, which is scheduled to vote on the matter at its May 25 meeting. Outsourcing should net the district an estimated $6 million in savings. GCA would officially enter Metro schools July 1.
According to the company’s website, GCA is “a leading national provider of quality facility services” that employs more than 20,000 employees nationwide at more than 500 million square feet of space. One of its specialties is custodial and groundskeeping work at education facilities.
“GCA was the unanimous first choice of the selection committee,” MNPS spokesperson Meredith Libbey said. “They demonstrated their ability to do quality work and to provide the opportunities for full-time employment with comparable wages and benefits. A lot of the other proposals relied heavily on part-timers.”
Under the proposal, GCA would retain Metro custodians who are recommended by the district. Those workers would remain at the same schools and would not miss a paycheck, she said. Part of GCA’s plan is to hire an additional 60 custodians, which would raise the total of janitors inside Metro schools to 730.
“Their plan is to reach out to employees over the next two weeks and have people on their payroll July 1,” Libbey said.
Outsourcing the district’s janitorial and groundskeeping services came at the recommendation of Director of Schools Jesse Register as a way to save money during a tight budget year. Register has said repeatedly his goal with this year’s budget was to protect the positions of teachers.
Mayor Karl Dean’s proposed budget for the 2010-2011 fiscal year funds Metro schools at $633 million, the level requested by Register and the school board.
Some have criticized the decision to outsource. Just this week, the Metro Council’s Black Caucus announced opposition to the district’s decision  to privatize in a letter addressed to the school board.
“We request that the school board revisit their proposed budget and work with members of the Metro Council to come up with a solution that will allow for the custodians and ground workers to keep their positions with Metro schools,” the letter reads.