Volusia County School District administrators are finally admitting what teachers have been trying to tell them: classrooms in the school district are not being adequately cleaned by a private custodial firm.
Now the district is acting on those deficiencies.
Teachers sent in pictures of conditions inside classrooms. Some of those pictures show dirty floors, green goo on shelves and worse yet, infestations of bugs sharing the same space students go to learn.
Teachers union President Andrew Sparr said these deplorable conditions started when the school district, in an attempt to save money, privatized custodians, giving a private firm an almost $58 million contract for five years.
That was almost two years ago. Teachers are now giving that firm a report card.
"I'd give them probably in the neighborhood of a 'D' or an 'F,'" Sparr said. "We're hearing from teachers on a regular basis that they're running out of paper towels, toilet paper in schools."
But teachers' complaints were falling on deaf ears, until now.
The school district said it will crack down the cleaning company, Aramark, to try to make sure classrooms are getting what the district paid for.
"Those schools that are below the agreed-upon cleanliness level will receive a notification to correct deficiencies within 10 days. If they do not, we will hire a third party at Aramark’s expense to clean the school," said district spokesperson, Nancy Wait.
"And it should be a real concern for taxpayers who are on the hook for this money being sent to a company that's not doing their job," added Sparr.
Teachers say if problems persist, the school district should consider hiring back the close to 500 custodians who lost their job with school district, a move the district made in 2013 to save money.
We left a message with an Aramark representative and are waiting to hear back from the company.