By Chris Kieffer/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – The Lee County School District will contract with an outside company to clean its schools next year.
The district’s school board approved the agreement with GCA on April 24. For about $460,000, the company will clean each of the district’s elementary classrooms every day and its middle and high school classrooms every other day. It will also clean all bathrooms, hallways and cafeterias daily and clean football, baseball and basketball stadiums/gyms after each home game.
GCA will wax the floors twice a year and will burnish them twice each week, as part of the agreement.
In 2010, the district made the decision to no longer contract out its cleaning services, which was then costing $565,000 each year. The decision was made in response to state budget cuts.
However, Superintendent Jimmy Weeks said, the cost savings were not as great as the district anticipated because it ended up paying about $401,000 each year for cleaning supplies.
During that time, school maintenance workers were assigned to clean the school campuses in addition to their other duties, and teachers were asked to clean their classrooms.
Weeks said those additional responsibilities proved to be a large burden.
“We are spending a little more money, but we are getting more services for that extra $60,000,” Weeks said. “Teachers can now focus on the most important thing, and that is teaching kids.”
Also, Weeks said, the district’s bathrooms and hallways were not as clean as they wanted them to be the last two years.
“When you have two maintenance people on campus with 700 or 800 kids, it is enough having to keep busy with accidents and spills,” he said. “They didn’t have time for some of the routine work. Our in-house staff was doing as good as they could do.”
The contract with GCA is for one year. The company has said it would hire local employees and buy products from local vendors, Weeks said.
The company does work in other school districts, including DeSoto County, Weeks said.