Northville's school board voted to lay off 43 custodial employees last week.
The job cuts – which were expected following the board’s decision in September to hire the private firm Grand Rapids Building Services (GRBS) – are said to save about $800,000, according to estimates by school administrators.
School Board President Joan Wadsworth said the decision was a difficult one to make.
“As the names were read, you can see the (board's) faces,” she said. “It’s very difficult.”
The layoffs will be effective Dec. 26, and the holiday break will be used to transition from the district’s full-time staff to the staff of GRBS, the private firm that was awarded the custodial contract.
Under GRBS, the positions will pay $9.25 to $12.00, and district employees will be given an opportunity to interview with GRBS, said Dan Chisolm, the president of the Teamsters local.
“One of our guys went up there to interview, and they didn’t even know what they would be willing to pay,” he said. “They’re just offering interviews – there’s no promises.”
The custodial department was not the only employee group that was privatized. was also privatized earlier this year. Chisolm said he believes the food service employees will also be privatized for the 2012-13 school year.