Sep 22, 2015 8:46 PM
NASHUA - “Keep our Custodians” is a message popping up outside of Charlotte Ave Elementary School, just days after the Nashua Board of Education voted 7-1 to end their contract with the custodian’s union and hire a private company.
“For us, the question was never about you know, do you want to see people lose their jobs. It’s not that simple,” said Board of Education President George Farrington.
Some, like former Alderman-at-Large and candidate for Ward 6 Alderman Ben Clemons, are upset the decision was made without warning.
“We’ve always negotiated in good faith in Nashua and to have this suddenly come up, it was a shock,” Clemons said.
101 custodians will lose their jobs. Farrington says it’s not an easy decision, but one needed to stay within the spending cap.
“Do we cut teachers, and increase class sizes and all of that, or do we change the way we do things,” Farrington said.
An online petition gathering more than 700 signatures in a few days features outcries from parents and teachers. One saying “We love and trust our custodians, please do not outsource these jobs.” One Nashua teacher with three children in the district saying, “My husband is a custodian affected by the decision, it should have been made with public input, my entire family is affected.”
The board is unsure how much money could be saved, but will begin the bidding process with multiple companies. Farrington says background checks will be required.
“I honestly believe that this was a case of union busting,” Clemons said.
“Our responsibility is to educate the children, keep teachers in the classroom,” Farrington said.
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