In March, the District 204 school board rejected all bids for custodial services after all offers came in over the budget.
At their latest meeting, board members approved a new three-year contract with Aramark – but they had to reduce the scope of the work and cut 14 positions to make the $35.5 million deal fit their budget.
“We did so making eight reductions in the scope of service. Some of those included night custodial personnel, management staff, and contractors, and cargo support staff,” said Todd DePaul, director of building operations for District 204.
204 also increased the starting salaries of custodial workers to match neighboring districts.
Also discussed at the meeting were the damaged walls of Fischer Middle School.
Bowing and cracked walls were first noticed last fall, prompting an ongoing investigation that has found settlement in a concrete slab and the underlying material.
“The slab spanned because we build in some redundancy,” said Structural Engineer of IMEG Alyssa Fee. “The slab spanned as long as it could then it started to sink. It moved the non-load bearing wall and started to push on the exterior wall and that caused the bowing that we first noticed.”
The solution is to stabilize the sinking slab by pumping grout underneath it.
Some board members are concerned that if this is a problem at Fischer, it might be a problem elsewhere.
“I know we’re solving the immediate problem, it’s reactive, but given the history of our district I think we need to expand the scope of the investigation beyond this school,” said Justin Karubas, a member of the District 204 school board.
In the mean time, the exterior wall of Fischer is shored up by exterior supports, and the building is safe for students to use.
Naperville News 17’s Blane Erwin reports.