I read about the budget shortfall in school district 59, and the school board considering whether to hire contractors to fulfill the district’s custodial and transportation services.

The district has 25 such employees under contract, many employed for more than 20 years. These employees earn their wages, giving years of service to jobs still necessary.

Superintendent Todd Leroy said having contractors do the work is less expensive. The current employees are under contract, but the district is taking bids on their jobs. Those who have submitted bids have said they’d give preference to hiring people who were laid off.

How nice, their future employer may hire them for their current jobs, except now they’ll work for less than a living wage, without benefits.

I think it stinks. These 25 workers are not the reason for the shortfall. Farming jobs out to the lowest bidder isn’t the answer. If this is a permanent shortfall, negotiate with (all) employees in district 59. It looks like the board doesn’t want to negotiate with a union.

If the board’s decision is based solely on money, maybe taxpayers in Madison would choose to pay a little more to keep what we have.

Madison voters overwhelmingly voted to keep our police department, rather than contract out to the sheriff’s department. Taxpayers would have saved money, but they chose security instead.

Local workers with benefits who’ve long served our community are a good thing. Making loyal employees pay for this shortfall is wrong. I hope that students from our district will someday have a job with benefits, and will work for an organization that recognizes the value of employees and their years of service.

 

Steve Stewart

Madison


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