PPS PUBLIC STATEMENT ON CUSTODIAN RECALL
July 6, 2006
Portland Public Schools is now recalling custodians laid off in 2002,
under a plan to again have school district employees provide custodial
services, rather than outside contractors.
Today, the school district notified the custodians' designated
representatives of the formal offer to recall the former custodians to
employment with PPS. We are committed to make the recall process and the
reintegration of these employees into the schools a total success for
returning custodians as well as for each of the schools, their staff and
This offer of recall is unconditional: It does not require an
individual custodian to waive any legal claims they may have against the
district. Given the on-going litigation relating to other aspects of the
layoff, all school district communications will go through the
custodians' designated representatives until the custodians accept
employment with the school district.
At this point, we do not know how many of the former custodians will
wish to return to Portland Public Schools, and we are finalizing plans
for staffing. Our goal is to contain costs while ensuring a clean and
safe learning environment for our students.
Recalled custodians will return to work as soon as August, after
passing a background check required by state law. Those employees
initially will work under the terms and conditions of the collective
bargaining agreement in effect in 2002, with pay and benefits adjusted
based on successor agreements between the school district and SEIU. Wage
rates have risen in the last four years, and under the successor
agreements, the school district now caps its contribution for health
insurance premiums at $779 per month (the same cap as for all PPS
employees except teachers).
After the new custodial staff is in place, the school district will
negotiate on-going wages, benefits and working conditions with SEIU
Local 503. We intend to act as wise stewards of the taxpayers' money
and to be guided by our primary mission: delivering a quality education
and a safe learning environment. We are committed to making the new and
renewed relationship with our custodians work -- and work well -- for
the benefit of our students and staff alike.