Camden schools consider outsourcing custodial work

Posted Nov. 20, 2013, at 3:51 p.m.

CAMDEN, Maine — Both the Five-Town Community School District and School Administrative District 28 are reviewing proposals from private companies to take over custodial services for the Camden area schools.

At stake are potential savings for the district versus the employment of 22 custodians who serve the two districts.

Superintendent Elaine Nutter said the maintenance cost of facilities in the districts came up during budget talks earlier this year. She said the school boards and community members asked if the districts had considered outsourcing the services as a way to save money.

The boards put together a committee that consisted of board members, school administrators and the president of the association that represents custodians. The committee put together information on the amount of work done by the custodians and then solicited bids from firms.

Three bids were received Nov. 8 — from CMC & Maintenance of Bangor, Maine Real Estate Management of Bangor and Service Master of Bangor for costs for services for the next three years. The superintendent said the committee reviewed the bids and is further reviewing the proposals from Maine Real Estate and Service Master.

Service Master submitted a bid of $965,420 to do the work in 2014-15 while Maine Real Estate’s bid was $982,255 for the next school year. CMC’s bid was about $1.4 million.

Nutter said the district is compiling figures to determine the current costs of custodial services so that comparisons can be made. The CSD, which oversees Camden Hills Regional High School, has 10 custodians working for it. SAD 28 which serves Camden-Rockport Middle School and Camden-Rockport Elementary School has 12 custodians. The custodians also maintain the administrative and central office known as the bus barn.

The committee will make a presentation at a joint meeting on Dec. 3 of both the CSD and the SAD 28 boards, the superintendent said. On that evening, people can comment or ask questions about the proposals and the possibility of outsourcing, she said.

The CSD Board is scheduled to meet again on Dec. 4 and the SAD 28 Board on Dec. 11 at which times there could be votes on the matter, she said.

The president of the association that represent custodians was not available Wednesday for comment.

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