When the 2010-'11 school year opens in August, all the schools in the Marana Unified School District will have new custodial arrangements following a reduction-in-force of custodians.

As a cost-saving measure to help reduce a $5.6 million reduction in state money to the MUSD budget left after the passage of Proposition 100, the district eliminated all of its 45 custodial positions. It is engaging the services of ABM Custodial Services of Tucson for all its schools, starting with the next school year on Aug. 9. MUSD custodians continue in their positions until June 30.

The move is expected to save $320,000 during the next fiscal year, according to Tamara Crawley, MUSD director of public relations.

Since July 2009, ABM Custodial Services has been handling the custodial duties at three MUSD schools — Estes Elementary, Marana Middle and Marana High School, Crawley pointed out. MUSD has 17 schools — two high, two middle, one each intermediate and alternative, and 11 elementary.

Before Proposition 100 passed in April, MUSD anticipated cutting its spending by as much as $10.3 million. "One of the cost savings that we anticipated is the full implementation of custodial outsourcing," Crawley said.

The district's original intent was to phase in the outsourcing of custodial work at all district schools over a period of up to four years. Faced with the $5.6 million budget reduction, the district decided to implement the full outsourcing with the upcoming school year.

Because Proposition 100 passed and the district's reduction from the state will not be as large, MUSD is rehiring some staff, but no custodians.

MUSD conducted two meetings for all employees affected by the reduction in force in May with Pima County's One Stop Career Center. Individuals received advice on career counseling, job development and search assistance, resume preparation, interviewing techniques and the unemployment process. The district also held a job fair for custodians in May, said Crawley.

Tony Mitchell, vice president of corporate communications for ABM Industries in New York City, said his firm hosted the job fair for people who had been employed by MUSD.

"Two individuals show up for the job fair and they are two of the four current MUSD custodians whose applications are pending with us," Mitchell said.

He noted no action could be taken on those applications until the individuals concluded their employment with MUSD on June 30.

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