Private cleaning firm fired by Manatee school district for substandard work

chawes@bradenton.comMarch 7, 2012 

MANATEE — One of two private firms hired by the Manatee school district to take over custodial services at four schools has been relieved of its duties because of substandard service including floors that weren’t swept, trash that wasn’t emptied and restrooms that weren’t cleaned.

American Facility Services, which is based in Georgia, took over custodial services Feb. 15 at Prine and Braden River elementary schools, as well as Haile Middle School. Reports began to circulate immediately that the company was not completing the job for which it was hired, said Todd Henson, director of maintenance and operations for the district.

By Feb. 24, American Facility had been removed from Prine and Braden River and was to focus only on Haile. But Tuesday, the company and the district agreed American Facility should be removed from Haile, too, Henson said. A team of custodians from the school district was assembled Tuesday to begin cleaning Haile today, Henson said.

Another company, USSI, remains at Miller Elementary. While the company also had a rough start in its duties, it has since proven itself up to the task, Henson said.

The move to privatize custodial services at the four schools is part of a pilot program to explore potential cost savings. District officials had anticipated saving $160,000 with the overall plan. A decision has not yet been made as to whether the plan will be explored again.

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