Posted Online: May 14, 2013, 5:44 pm

Janitors dismissed from Rockridge schools

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By Kelly Steiner, ksteiner@qconline.com

Despite a petition signed by more than 500 people opposing privatization of custodial and maintenance services, the Rockridge School Board voted Monday to "honorably" dismiss 13 employees and have FBG Service take over the duties on July 1.

The action is expected to save the district $153,158 per year.

The janitorial staff passed around the petition because workers were upset the decision to outsource was never discussed with them, giving them a chance to propose cuts of their own.

"If everybody would have done a little cutting here and there, there would have been a big difference," janitor Ron Hammitt said. "They say let's do what's right for the kids. The kids are suffering."

Superintendent Chester Liensaid FBG would offer a comparable benefits package, and he's hopefulthe 13 staff members cutwill apply to the new company and stay working at the schools.

Mr. Liensaid the agreement with FBG was that "any qualified applicant has to be offered their position back."

However, they would have to take a pay cut to work for FBG.

"I don't think there's one person that's going to stay," Mr. Hammitt said.

In other business, the board:

- Accepted the resignation of high school assistant cook Lisa Lee andart teacher Kayla Dixon.

- Approved hiring Jillian Morrison as a high school art teacher.

- Honorably dismissed one secretary and two aides and cut one cafeteria worker from full to part time.

- Approved hiring assistant football coaches Tom Hasson and Jeff Henry as full-time and Toby Whiteman and Jeff Schmulbach as half-time.