On September 16, Raise Your Hand sent out a survey on custodians and school cleanliness after hearing so many complaints from CPS parents. 162 people at 60 schools took the survey.
Does your school have fewer custodians than last year?
13.82% Don’t Know
How many custodians were cut this year?
6.52 % lost no custodians.
23.91% lost 1 custodian.
33.70% lost 2 custodians.
15.22% lost 3 custodians.
9.78% lost 4 custodians.
11.96% lost 5+ custodians.
Here are some written responses:
They have that overnight position now, but cleanliness has declined significantly. Less custodians even though there is as of this year new 8-room modular addition. Almost double the rooms to clean with less staff than we had for just the main building.
Varies week to week. Strong case made to keep 4, although told that 3 would be norm.
Actually half a custodian position was cut
More than I can account for.
0.5 or 1... very unsure as we get mixed messages that change
1.5 as of Oct. 1st
Two were cut, but principal appealed, providing correct square footage, and we got one back.
Not sure about cuts but Aramark had been shifting around janitors and causing havoc at our school because of their inept decisions.
Have you verified this with your Principal and/or LSC?
Have you noticed a difference in building cleanliness?
51.92% Much Worse
Here are some written responses:
worse - they're putting mousetraps in pre-k where there are droppings and curious 3 yr. olds
different worker, really good
I spoke to two sixth graders and my daughter, they've indicated the bathrooms are filthy since school started. Ants are a problem as well.
No one cleans our office, We have to take out our own garbage and sweep the floors. The locker room is gross, I feel sorry for the students. There are roaches. No TP in the team locker room, the toilet seat is broke, The air conditioning does not work.
One of my classrooms has not been cleaned by any custodian at all since last spring BEFORE school ended. I have personally taken out the garbage, swept the floor, and (as of last night) mopped the floor myself.
What issues have arisen this year?
Rooms are dirtier- 82.12%
Bathrooms don’t have soap/TP regularly- 74.14%
Cafeteria has spills- 22.52%
Garbage bag liners flimsy and/or not replaced regularly- 57.62%
Principal and other staff spending time cleaning and managing cleaning- 60.26%
Parents and/or students asked to clean the building- 15.89%
Here are some written responses:
Rugs are filthy and there's always a fear of lice because there isn't adequate cleaning
The microfiber floor cleaners do NOT clean the floors adequately.
parents spend time cleaning due to no help.
teachers are cleaning
Saw principal with a spray bottle and paper towels cleaning in the hallway and second graders scrubbing lockers that never got cleaned over the summer.
Teaching staff regularly cleaning their own rooms and supplying toilet paper/soap/towels to students
Confusion on who will be coming at night & what hours
Gyms never cleaned from summer; stair cases dirty; waxed over old wax
The Auditoroum has been changed into a cafeteria and it is always a mess, tables need to be wiped and floor is extremely dirty
Floors in cafeteria and around building not clean
Floors aren't swept and rugs not vacuumed.
graffiti, much of it gang-related is not being removed promptly from student desks
Principal bought brooms so teachers or kids can sweep their rooms
Safety not knowing who the custodians are or will be sent for shifts. Irregular staffing. Poor communication.
What’s your role at the school?
HS Student- 0%
(LSC Chair; Engineer; Social Worker; Counselor; Community Members via respondent comments.)
Anything else you’d like to add?
There has been reported theft in our building from teachers and staff that has never happened until new custodians took over and all our former custodians were removed without adequate notice. Our students do not feel safe. We have a half time custodian that spends the majority of time at our school yelling & swearing at people on his cell phone outside my classroom window, smoking cigarettes, and sleeping in his car or boiler room where our laminator is located. He walks through the building on his cell phone swearing during school hours when parents and children are present.
Fire Tim Cawley for signing this contract.
Despite requests, our custodian still does not have cleaning supplies!!!
There are some new Aramark workers at the school who are reliable and work hard. There are some new Aramark workers at the school who SIT most of the night shift. This is a school that has a high-energy, forward-moving,productive, positive vibe, so it is REALLY evident when someone is not engaged in their work.
No one seems to care. The tennis courts are over grown with weeds.
Our engineer used to manage the custodians and preventative maintenance. Our custodians respected him. Now the engineer is shared with another large school. He is only able to put out fires btwn the two schools. Preventative maint is on hold indefinitely. He has no auto over the custodians. More concerning, the principal has in authority over him- thus we are at the mercy of putting in work order tickets and waiting for him to be available- which never happens bc there seem to be a never ending queue of more urgent fires.
An entire floor and the outside sidewalk of our building wasn't cleaned last week. Teacher bathrooms and the teacher copy area are definitely dirtier than last year, and the boys' bathrooms haven't had soap the past few weeks.
Thinking ahead - what about snow? We have one morning janitor and two scheduled from 2-10. Last winter it took two janitors and the engineer coming in very early and working EXTREMELY hard to get all the snow removed in time for school and on several occasions. Who will be doing this now?
No supervision and no one to get clear answers from when a problem arises.
My kids are disgusted. I am disgusted. I volunteered in the school over the summer and saw the cleaning "crew" sitting around on their cell phones and outside smoking but not doing anything. They were supposedly "deep cleaning" our school. Huge change from the previous year when our CPS custodians worked all of the time and our school was spotless and gleaming. Not now. Our students eat lunch in their classrooms and these are not cleaned nightly now. Terrible. Our school used to be beautiful. We have had broken drinking fountains, broken doors, trash everywhere. Our bathrooms are constantly breaking down and go unfixed because our engineer is now part time in our building. No soap. The school bell has also not worked since the beginning of school.
Lost knowledgeable, vauable custodial staff. Also are unhappy with affect of extra work and stress on custodian who is left. She is overworked and pooly treated by Aramark
Valued custodial and engineering staff have been cut. Classrooms have sustained damage to expensive equipment and furniture; classroom items have been stole. Who's going to replace these items. Art rooms are not clean. Garbage and recycling is piling up. Bathrooms (faculty and student) are disgusting.
The process if asking anything to get done takes a lot longer and there seems to be no consequences when things are left undone.
The 1.5 hours custodial cut takes place as of Oct. 1st-so issues likely to be exacerbated in near future.
No evening supervision of custodial workers; principal spends his time directing custodians during the day.
We have 4 Aramark employees cleaning each night. They are overworked and not able to keep up because they don't know the building like our old staff. Now, they have been told at the end of the month 2 positions will be cut. Right now it's dirtier but OK, but after 2 positions will be lost, how will it be cleaned? My rug didn't even get vacuumed over the summer. Normally it gets washed and shampooed. The filth after the summer was SO much worse for teachers this year. We were passing around brooms and dustpans to sweep our floors before the students came. I had bird poop all over everything because a window had been left open sometime in the summer (and then I found the dead bird.) I also had electronics stolen from the library. I don't know that it was Aramark employees, but I've never had anything go missing before. Also, it's not safe for a school to have a different random adult cleaning bathrooms every day. We knew our old staff and they knew the kids. They could keep our building SAFER because they were a part of the community. Why would you want rotating hourly employees at an elementary school? Have they passed background checks and all of the medical testing needed to work in a school? (That our parent volunteers need to have?) It doesn't make any sense.
The .5 custodian is scheduled from 1:30-5:30. Our school day ends at 4:00, Afterschool ends at 5:00. There is essentially not enough time for the .5 custodian to clean classrooms. Consequently one floor our building is always left unclean.
Aramark is unresponsive and/or very slow to address concerns. Custodian cleaning schedules were created by managers that have never been in the school and make cleaning even more inefficient.
Bathrooms are filthy and I worry because they have become perfect environments for gems to grow and spread. I wonder if the current respiratory virus is spreading so quickly because of the filthy conditions in our schools.
Worse school opening in the 15 years I have been here
All members of my department are regularly taking trash home to throw away or trekking across the school to dispose of trash (food trash particularly). I have alerted my assistant principal (who communicates with our Aramark manager) about how one of my classrooms has not been cleaned. I have done this twice, and I have witnessed him making the call and leaving a message. That was three weeks ago. I am the ONLY person trying to clean my classroom. There was a period of over 24 hours where the women's restroom (for staff) on the first floor lacked toilet paper in 4 out of 6 stalls. When I reported this issue to the main office, the clerk was also frustrated and explained that this issue had already been reported repeatedly and passed along to the people who are responsible for rectifying the problem.
The replacement janitor is 19 years old and hasn't had much work experience. The two people we had before were hardworking and did an excellent job inside and out.
Send Help ASAP
Teachers work hard to keep the building orderly but have neither enough time or resources to maintain its cleaniness.
I volunteer in the cafeteria and if we didn't have parents, the desks wouldn't be cleaned, or the floors swept. As it is, we can't getn enough volunteers to do this, so often the children are sitting at dirty tables with food waste on the floors.
A dead mouse and a dead rat were found by teachers in their rooms when they returned from summer break.
According to the current custodians, Armak fired a group of $16+ dollar an hour works and then rehired them at $12.50 (no benefits). Armak is a slap to any fair minded person. I sincerely hope their solely profit based actions coming to light.
Principal reported that officials did come and measure the school but did not talk to her so they did not take in to consideration that we do not have a lunch room. Breakfast and lunch are served in the classrooms but that extra food waste was not taken into account. As a result, the classrooms are not cleaned as they should and there is a lot of excess food waste garbage in the classroom. Also, she reports missing supplies and not enough garbage cans and liners.
We lost a wonderful, hard working and responsible janitor last year, his first name is -----. Aramark just arbitrarily sent him to a different school. We had no control over it. This janitor had a great relationship with other janitors and especially with our enigneer, ----------. We also lost at the beginning of this school year, a janitor named -----. She had been at ------- forever and had developed a relationship with all faculty, staff, parents and our engineer. ------- was a great asset to our school. She was able to coordinate all the janitors and worked very well with our engineer. ------- is like family and our school is definitley suffering with her not there. We now have two janitors sent to us by Aramark that our school had no choice in who they sent. These janitors do not perform to the level of ------- or -----. These new janitors don't have the same committment to our school.
Teachers had to do much of the work at the beginning of the year to get rooms ready for the students. They were "cleaning up" after the cleaning/waxing of floors - i.e. removing spills/stains on wall, taking up tape, cleaning furniture, moving large pieces of furniture around, etc.
The changes are drastic. Cleanliness was never an issue in the past. Our building has had a rotating door of custodians in and out since the new contract. Still the building is not being properly cleaned and there are far too few custodians in our massive building
We have three floors. My classroom is now cleaned by 2 ladies from Aramark who have to be at another school by 5. As a new mom I have to pump in my room after school and am not finished until 4:30. (School day ends at 4:00.) My trash is rarely taken out and my rug never vacuumed. I don't think they clean my room sometimes because I have to be in there til 4:30.
Have found janitorial staff hiding out in dark rooms sleeping or playing games on phone.
Our best janitor was removed. Then, someone new came in, he was replaced. The morale among the janitors is VERY low. With this morale and the way they are being treated - who would want to do a good job? I've also heard rumors that the engineer cuerrently does not oversee or provide the supplies any longer, so if we run out of soap, the janitors are supposed to supply it - but if they don't have any, we don't get any. Broken soap dispensers aren't being replaced or repaired because that is supposedly under the job description of ARAMARK, so now they don't get fixed. Before, it was our engineer. It's a complete disaster. I took pictures of how poorly the floors are swept, when they are swept. I have a rug in my room and it has been vacuumed one time over 2 weeks - going on 3. They never sweep under the desks or tables and were told they had 5 minutes for each classroom. When I returned from summer break, I moved book shelves and it was FILTHY. This, after we were told we would have a deep cleaning. This is disgusting. How are we to stay healthy in these conditions?
Furniture that needs moving has not been moved, so my room is piled with unused desks. When bathrooms are cleaned, they are cleaned well, but they aren't cleaned as often so smell builds up.
Every day when I take my girls to the bathroom at least 4 of the stalls don't have toilet paper.
Garbage cans have disappeared from classrooms. Things have been broken. Often garbage not emptied or swept up. Much more graffiti
I immediately contacted Armark and CPS as soon as this situation started with the change in custodians - back during Spring Break and was given the run around and directed to officials downtown - I spoke to them and was given the run around and then the situation got worse - Armark management came in and DID NOT HAVE THE SAME STANDARDS OF CLEANLINESS that were held in the school before the change - they claimed they did not smell urine (even though staff, students and parents all complained of urine smell in bathrooms - which was never the case before the change). When I complained about the process and lack of communication, I was told things would get better - they have gotten worse
I'm concerned that the custodians we know and trust are having their shifts changed and possibly being moved to other sites.
One of our custodians who was cut worked at my school longer than any of the current teachers and administrators. We all had his cell number and could rely on him for anything and everything. He was also a positive influence on so many kids ranging from those who were having an off day to those he were seriously challenged with severe problems. He was a part of our family...much more than what people normally think of when they think of a custodian. His last day was painfully sad. My principal literally broke down while recounting this wonderful man's selfless deeds.
No supervision of staff. Ghost custodians. No communication with principal. No respect for furniture and property. Not using equipment. More time spent by principal on something that was running smooth. Ants and garbage around building. Summer cleaning poorly done with no concern or ownership for the school. No caring for kids.
Our regular custodian was moved to a different building and the new person has to now learn our needs. We have three shifts of preschool and there is not someone at the school long enough to cover all three shifts.
We had 3 janitors - 2 day and one night. Now we only have 1. We also had a f/t bldg engineer that was let go by cps and has not yet been replaced. Much if the burden for the lack of staff to clean and maintain our bldg has fallen to our dedicated principal (and her husband) who spend hours and hours doing the work on evenings and weekends. Dispicable.
Two custodians were farmed out to other schools -- we got two in exchange who have no ties or commitment to the school. Our engineer is now split between three schools. Bathrooms have no soap or towels, vomit sits in rooms for long periods, no one knows how to fix things in our old building.