School buildings hit hard by layoffs of custodial and maintenance staff

It takes a whole network of people to run a school system, and the loss of some of those people is starting to take a toll on the school buildings themselves.

NYSUT members reminded lawmakers Feb. 15 during a day of advocacy and an Extraordinary Meeting of NYSUT’s Committee of 100 that school district employees in custodial and maintenance departments have also lost their jobs in the state’s budget crisis. And in the most brutal winter in recent memory, the absence of those vital members of the school system is keenly felt.

Debra Kardas of the Poughkeepsie Public Schools Teachers Association described during a meeting with the staff of Assembly Education Chair Catherine Nolan how buildings in the district are deteriorating to the point where it’s becoming a safety concern.

“Right now, outside one of my classroom doors, is a huge leak going into a large garbage bucket,” Kardas said. “We’re not talking amenities; we’re talking basic needs. When you walk down the hallway, you literally have to watch the tiles above you.”

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