Rockdale County Public Schools Board of Education weighed new budget options Thursday night that would outsource or restructure janitorial services to potentially save up to $2.45 million over five years.
According to projections drawn up by Chief Financial Officer Lee Davis, janitorial services currently cost about $4.3 million. About 12 janitorial employees left at the end of the school year, out of about 106 currently employed, and would not be replaced even if RCPS did not choose to outsource. Even so, he said RCPS realized it was overstaffed by about eight janitorial employees.
Davis presented three options to the school board on Thursday tied into the proposed 2012-2013 school year budget, which is approximately $125 million. The school board will hold their second and final vote on the budget on June 21.
Option 1 – the option recommended by cabinet staff members – would outsource janitorial services altogether for a total savings of about $2.45 million over five years. Davis projected it would save about $274,358 in FY 2014, $581,986 in FY 2015, $783,695 in FY 2016 and $864,635 in FY 2017.
Davis said the company that had produced the most competitive bid for janitorial outsourcing, GCP, had agreed to keep all janitorial employees who pass background checks/drug tests and to continue paying them at the same rate. Employees would have more opportunities for promotion, school leaders would no longer have to handle personnel matters and RCPS would be able to "get out of the business of cleaning buildings," according to Davis.
Chief Academic Officer Rich Autry said RCPS would still be involved as employment decisions would go through RCPS’s human resources processes “to make sure none of our people are arbitrarily dismissed.”
Option 2 would outsource through attrition, or replace positions with employees of the outsourced company as RCPS janitorial employees left. Based on about a 10 percent turnover rate, Davis projected this would provide a savings of about $285,060 over five years.
Option 3 would not outsource but would still restructure the janitorial workforce and would not replace the 12 employees that left at the end of the school year. Initially, there would be a savings of about $395,000 next year due to the employees that left, but costs would continue to rise largely due to rising health care costs. Over five years, this option is projected to cost $220,000.
According to a company representative who attended Thursday’s school board work session, GCP is one of the largest companies that handle janitorial and landscaping services for education systems. Currently they have 170 school systems and educational clients nation-wide, including 30 in Tennessee. Rockdale County Public Schools would be GCP's first Georgia account if they were chosen.
The proposed budget still has a revised school calendar with three teacher planning days cut - Nov. 6, May 28, and May 29. March 15 would be a school day for both students and staff and the last day of school would be May 23.
The proposed budget would not require a millage rate increase. The tax digest is estimated to be reduced by a little less than 8 percent.
The school board will hold their second and final vote on the proposed budget on Thursday, June 21, 7 p.m., at 954 N. Main Street.