Custodian aims to fill board with privatization foes

DURAND, Mich. — A school custodian who was elected to the Durand school board told The Flint Journal that two of his goals are to fill the board with privatization opponents and cut central office costs.

 Paul Mayers has been a custodian in the district since 1995, according to The Journal. Until 2009 he was employed directly by the district, but that year Durand Area Schools outsourced its custodial services to Professional Contract Management Inc., which is now Mayers’ employer.

The move saved the district $190,000 that year alone, Superintendent Cindy Weber told The Journal, and was part of a larger budget-cutting plan that also included consolidating teacher and administrator positions.

Mayers still makes $16 an hour, The Journal reported, but he told the newspaper that he now works second shift instead of first and that the custodians do not receive as many benefits as previously.

Mayers said he hopes to fill the board in future elections with enough anti-privatization members to prevent any further outsourcing, The Journal reported. The number of contract employees being elected to school boards in Michigan has grown in recent years as more districts have privatized services to save money, Brad Banasik, legal counsel for the Michigan Association of School Boards, told The Journal.

The Flint Journal, “Laid-off janitor now on Durand board sets goal: Cleaning up school officials' pay,” Jan. 6, 2011

Michigan Capitol Confidential, “School Union Brags of Ballot Box Revenge Against Outsourcing,” May 12, 2010