Chesterfield County Schools considering an end to outsourcing custodial work

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — After years of controversy, Chesterfield County Public Schools may be done with outsourcing custodial work.

In a recent statement, the school said they are considering hiring custodians to work in the schools again due to a drop in the quality of services since they began outsourcing the jobs.

The school has gone through two companies since they began outsourcing custodial work four years ago at eight schools through a company called GCA.

The decision faced immediate backlash.

Months later, the school system received nearly 200 complaints about the service including doors being left unlocked, lights left on overnight, poor cleaning and inadequate staffing.

Chesterfield subsequently hired SSC Cleaning to work at 41 schools, and last year it seemed like things were going well as they announced the school system saved $7.1 million.

“I think they were sold a bill of goods,” parent Jenefer Hughes said about the decision to outsource custodial work.

Hughes has been critical of the plan since the beginning. She says while she appreciates the school system’s efforts to save money, her twenty years of experience in outsourcing had her concerned services could not be as good.

“It’s a public health issue,” Hughes said.

Now the school system says expectations regarding custodial services have not been met.

“That’s the business model and I think as a result, you’ve seen a drop in cleanliness and service at schools,” Hughes said.

8News reached out to Chesterfield Schools who sent us this statement:

“The school division remains committed to providing students and staff members with a safe, supportive and nurturing learning environment. During the past two years, we have addressed a number of concerns with the vendor, and this past school year received payment back when work did not meet expectations. 

Progress has been noted; however, we remain concerned that expectations have not been fully met.  The newly amended contract continues to place high expectations on the vendor.  It also provides the school division the opportunity to pursue other options if expectations are not met and maintained by a certain date.  School division leaders have begun to consider future options, which include returning all functions related to custodial services to the school division.  We will continue to monitor work and hold the vendor to the expectations that have been set, as we provide high-quality instruction in learning environments that are free from distraction or disruption.”

As part of their contract, Chesterfield did get some money back from the company they hired because it did not meet expectations.

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