Dust on the floor, dirt on the wall, and a hairball named Trudy are just some of the cleanliness issues teachers in Utica say they are dealing with.
“My membership, which is all of the certified staff within Utica community schools, have been bringing these matters to attention for years now,” said Liza Parkinson, President of the Utica Education Association.
Director of School-Community Relations Tim McAvoy said that the pictures taken by teachers have been addressed. However, Parkinson says cleanliness inside schools is an ongoing issue.
“Here’s what happens. I will bring an issue to the district, and they will do everything they can to rectify it, but there are fires all over, so to speak, in terms of those cleanliness issue,” said Parkinson.
McAvoy tells 7 Action News that part of the issue is budget.
In 2010, the district let go of their custodial staff to save on their budget. According to McAvoy, $470 per child was cut, leading to a net loss of $60 million since 2012.
“Most districts have had that reinstated, and we have not in Utica Community Schools,” said McAvoy.
Parkinson wants the district to rethink the budget and hire their own custodial staff, instead of privatizing services.
“We are supposed to be providing the best quality education for all of our kids, and part of that includes a clean learning environment,” said Parkinson.
Utica Schools currently use GCA Services to clean their schools.
“The contract expires in 2019, and, as we do with all of our contracts, we will evaluate those services based on performance and affordability,” said McAvoy.