sam's notes

notes on government, sports and popular culture

Sunday, September 05, 2004

It's interesting that Sodexho is at the center of the controversy surrounding school superintendent Terry Grier's outside consulting work.

At a school board meeting a while back, a major issue was whether or not renew Sodexho's contract. The outsourcing of custodial services was a money-saving move, which, Grier said, returns more money to teachers.

But several school principals complained about Sodexho's standards of cleanliness. Also, during the public speaking portion of the meeting, several custodians complained about Sodexho's employment practices. Board member Darlene Garrett was particularly concerned, saying "health department officials" told her that the schools were not up to standards, though she refused to identify those officials. Even assistant superintendent John Wright admitted "there were some bumps in the road" where Sodexho was concerned. But Wright and Grier assured the board those bumps had been smoothed over, and that the schools were "cleaner today than they were four years ago."

After much discussion, the board decided to renew the contract with Sodexho on condition that a monthly report be issued. If Sodexho's work is not up to standards, it will complete the work and be billed by the school system.

An update on Sodexho is not on the agenda for this week's school board meeting. But it should come some time this month.


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