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  • The Facts on Privatizing Custodial Operations in Hillsborough County Schools
    Updated On: Mar 28, 2019

    Hillsborough School Employee Federation FACT SHEET

    Subcontracting Custodial Services

    What is happening? Hillsborough County Public School leaders are asking private companies, eager for multi millions in profits, to tell them what they already know concerning the numbers, services and costs of operations for custodial services. With over 1600 custodial services employees, at an average $24,000 yearly income, how does our district expect an outside contractor to achieve the savings desired?  
    FACT: A private contractor will attempt to cut corners which could include reducing staff to a quantity below what is necessary, or hiring only part-time employees to avoid providing benefits. Furthermore, contractors will pay less, and therefore employees who may leave our district to work for the contractor would eventually leave the profession, and the private company will continue to attract less qualified employees.
    HCPS does not need subcontractors, seeking a multimillion dollar deal, to teach them about “possible benefits”.

    What does subcontracting custodial services mean? If HCPS chooses to subcontract, a private company with the capability to take on a school district of our size, could very well be from outside of the state, which will take profits outside Hillsborough County, resulting in a net loss for the local economy.
    FACT: There will be no going back! It will be nearly impossible to bring custodial services in-house again once the district realizes the more expensive cost in the future. The enormous capital costs associated with the restocking of equipment, tools, supplies, etc. and the cost to train new staff would be difficult to fund and will never produce the quality service we have now. Contractors know this and it will ensure long term payout!

    Why explore this possibility? Hillsborough County Public School has CLAIMED that the Gibson Report “found subcontracting custodial services could save our district millions of dollars”.

    THIS IS FALSE! The report DOES NOT RECOMMEND OUTSOURCING!

    FACT: Florida is 44th out of the 50 states in education funding, but the high costs of outsourcing will increase the likelihood of the local community being asked to pick up the tab. HCPS has the responsibility to control expenses and ensure limited dollars have the maximum POSITIVE effect on students. Additionally, HCPS leaders must do their part to lobby the Florida Legislature to FULLY FUND public education in the state of Florida, so that we can continue to operate more effectively rather than pay someone else MORE to provide a lower quality service.

    Is anything happening right now?  District leaders say they are only exploring right now, but make no mistake, HCPS is following through on efforts to privatize more than just custodial services, but ALL operational services, including Student Nutrition Services, all of Maintenance, etc., as stated by some current school board members.
    FACT: HCPS has already outsourced parts of the Maintenance department where HCPS will start incurring high costs very soon.

    What are the possible details, such as employee pay and benefits, cost savings, etc.? It is important to remember that many details about outsourcing of services can be easily seen & studied in numerous examples across the state and country, and examined in current outsourcing situations in our own school district, as well as expensive efficiency audits already completed for our district.
    FACT: In other school districts that have subcontracted custodial services, such as Chicago, the model HCPS leaders are looking at, more problems have arisen than have been managed, and districts like these fell into bigger budget crises than what they began with.

    https://chicago.suntimes.com/news/cps-inspections-blitz-finds-rat-droppings-bugs-filth-in-schools/

    https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/08/chicago-public-schools-dirty_n_5922982.html
    https://hbr.org/1991/11/does-privatization-serve-the-public-interest

    What are we telling our custodians? HSEF represents & defends our custodians and we plan to hold the Hillsborough County School District administrators and School Board Members to the highest level of transparency throughout this process. Our members of the school district’s custodial teams deserve respect, a living wage and the best working conditions possible.
    FACT: By paying more to an outside company to manage the job our hard working employees do each day, Hillsborough County Public School leaders will ensure those people see lower wages, reduced benefits and increased strain on their families. Consider the possible unemployment costs alone, frequent turnover, and the potential for lax vetting of those working around our children as security measures in our schools are rising.

    Why are school district leaders REALLY doing this?


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