MARION COUNTY, Fla. – It’s a tough job, but custodians are the backbone of every school district. They make sure the classrooms and facilities are clean and safe for students and staff.
Right now, the district is down 30 custodians and it’s hoping to fill those positions by the next school year when more kids will be back in the classroom.
“We have a ton of open positions. It’s been extremely difficult this year to get people in. Everybody has some fear with COVID, but now we’re getting over that and looking forward to a positive future.” Custodial Services Coordinator James LaMotte said.
Custodians in Marion County Public Schools clean and disinfect more than 7,000,000 square feet of space every day, some custodians working overnight, according to LaMotte.
With a lack of staff, LaMotte said it’s been a difficult year on top of the increased cleaning they’ve been doing because of the pandemic.
“I’m highly concerned because I’m worried about my employees I have currently. With large vacancies, we’re getting tired and filling those positions will be vital for next year,” LaMotte said.
Right now, the base pay for custodians is $10.35 per hour. LaMotte said the district offers great benefits including paid continuous education online.
“For people looking for a career, we have a retirement plan. You don’t even need a high school diploma to get started,” LaMotte said.
LaMotte said the school board has helped by purchasing new equipment like electrostatic sprayers. The mist allowing them to disinfect more surfaces quicker. It is equipment they plan to use well into the future.
“We’ve noticed a drastic decline in flu and other viruses floating around, so whatever we’re doing is working,” LaMotte said.
LaMotte said the district has enough staff to get through summer school and is hoping to fill the vacant positions by next semester.
“It’s really a big issue for us, we want to make sure we have adequate staff to provide the clean safe environment the public expects,” LaMotte said.
Some district leaders are trying to incentivize those positions, asking for an increase in base pay for custodians. The school board has not yet approved that request.
Click here to apply for vacant positions at Marion County Public Schools.