Subcontracting a continuing threat
The idea of throwing loyal, hard-working support professionals under the proverbial bus is still popping up as administrators try to cut budgets by compromising quality through subcontracting. Fortunately, citizens in SAD 9 Farmington, Litchfield, SAD 75 Topsham, and SAD 59 Madison have rejected the idea.
In SAD 9, Farmington association members led by Doug Hodum rallied community support at a district budget meeting to defeat a subcontracting proposal. Following a five-day flurry of community organizing and tense negotiations, they turned back a scheme that would have eliminated custodial jobs and sent dollars out of the community. More than 100 people attended the meeting to voice their opposition.
Despite opposition by many community members, Litchfield’s school board initially voted to contract out its bus service, threatening to displace 22 bus drivers, and then rescinded its vote at the next meeting by rejecting the bid of a service provider.
In SAD 75 Topsham, the debate over contracting out custodial services has been going on for three years. “This fight has been very stressful on them,” reports MEA UniServ Director Sue Rowe, “to the point that some have gone out on worker’s comp claims.”