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District's custodial decision is hard to support

June 4, 2014

Public Forum:

On May 19, the Wauwatosa School Board voted 5-2 to outsource around 30 of the district's custodial jobs to a private company, Dan Plautz Cleaning Services. The starting wages at this company are $10/hour or $21,000/year. This is not enough to support a family. Compare this to the $167,000/year we pay our school superintendent who was pushing for this change.

This proposal was rushed through in just a few weeks, most likely to stifle any opposition. Public input was totally ignored by the five school board members who voted for it. Numerous emails had been sent to board members, and over a dozen people spoke against it at the meeting, including custodians pleading to keep their jobs and offering to take a wage cut. The board was asked numerous times to at least postpone their vote, to work directly with the affected custodians to find an alternative solution, or to consider a reduction in administrative salaries to save these jobs. Not one person at the meeting spoke in favor of this proposal.

Certainly school districts are under pressure due to the governor's and legislature's attempts to undermine public education, slash funding to public schools and redirect tax dollars to private and religious schools by expanding the voucher program.

Even so, our school district is not in a desperate situation. In fact, our district is in healthy financial shape, with reportedly the largest cash reserve in the metropolitan area. There is no reason to take the drastic step of eliminating jobs.

In a rush to rubber-stamp the administration's proposal, the school board demeaned our community by replacing good family-supporting jobs with cheap labor. Is this the way Wisconsin is "moving forward"?

Frank and Joanne Shansky

Wauwatosa

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