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Grapevine-Colleyville district cuts 33 janitorial positions

05/30/2012 10:22 PM

05/30/2012 11:00 PM

The Grapevine-Colleyville school district is eliminating 33 custodial positions by hiring a private company to clean elementary schools at night.

Attrition lowered the number of people who may lose their jobs to 21, but privatizing janitorial services is part of a broader effort by the district to reduce its 2012-13 payroll by 51 jobs as it deals with state education funding cuts.

Other preliminary 2012-13 budget cuts include the elimination of 15 secondary teaching positions and three curriculum specialist slots, according to district spokeswoman Megan Overman.

Last year, the district shed 40 jobs, which also were blamed on decreases in state funding. The Grapevine-Colleyville district is projected to lose a total of $14.5 million in state funding over the two school years since the last state legislative session. Lower enrollment figures reported last month show the district collecting $951,959 less in per-student revenue during the 2011-12 school year.

The 15 secondary teachers were a holdover from the switch from a block to a seven-period schedule at the high schools, Overman said. That switch resulted in a total of 30 high school positions being eliminated over two academic years; the first 15 were phased out in 2011-12 and the remaining 15 are being dropped from the 2012-13 budget.

In April, school trustees approved hiring GCA K12 Education Services to provide workers to clean elementary schools, pending final review of the terms of the contract. If the contract is approved, the district would save about $200,000 over its present cost to clean its 11 elementary schools.

The contract does not require GCA to hire current Grapevine-Colleyville workers, but the contractor recently interviewed custodians who are included in the layoff, Overman said.

The private contractor will clean elementary schools only and not high schools.

"We have tried in the past to contract night cleaning of secondary campuses, but it has been difficult for a contract company to work around all the evening events that occur at middle and high school campuses," Overman said.

Custodial employees were told of the possible privatization last fall, allowing months of advance notice to find other jobs, Overman said.

The district's personnel department also helped affected employees look for jobs in other school districts.

The Grapevine-Colleyville district has joined hundreds of other Texas school districts in a suit against the state of Texas that declares that state lawmakers are violating the state constitution, which mandates that the state fully fund public education. The suit, along with others filed by additional districts and groups, is scheduled to be heard in October.

Shirley Jinkins, 817-390-7657

Twitter: @startelegram

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