Chicago Public Schools Set to Cut Ties With Aramark Cleaning Management Company

(WTTW News)(WTTW News)

Chicago Public Schools is set to sever ties with Aramark, the Philadelphia-based janitorial company which provided cleaning services for the district for the last decade.

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The Board of Education next week will vote on whether to replace Aramark with seven other vendor companies to provide custodial and professional services for district schools.

CPS confirmed it will not renew the contract and will instead ask the board to approve seven new vendors.

A district spokesperson in a statement said it is planning to transition to a new custodial services model for the 2024-25 school year in an effort to “improve our services and ensure a clean and safe teaching and learning environment for all.”

“CPS has improved our custodial operations over the past couple of years and this is another step in that direction to ensure clean schools for our hard-working staff and students,” the spokesperson said.

The district said each of the seven new vendors have gone through a “robust procurement process” and CPS plans to will implement a new oversight model in order to “more closely manage our day and night time custodians through a new management structure, new contracts with custodial vendors and cleaning supply companies, and improved communication and organizational processes.”

Aramark’s vice president of corporate communications Chris Collom said the company was “disappointed that we were not selected to continue with facility services for CPS.”

“We are proud of the efforts of our dedicated employees and are committed to ensuring a smooth transition to the school district,” he said in a statement.

Chalkbeat Chicago first reported on the proposed change.

CPS has contracted with Aramark since 2014, but the district has faced repeated complaints of dirty classrooms and buildings over the past decade.

Between late 2017 and early 2018, 91 out of 125 CPS schools that faced “blitz” inspections by the district failed, with the Chicago Sun-Times reporting that inspectors found problems including dirty bathrooms, rodent droppings and pest infestations.

SEIU Local 73, which represents CPS janitors and other employees, lauded the move away from Aramark.

“We have emerged victorious in our fight to bring union custodians back under the supervision of CPS instead of Aramark,” Veronica Heard, an SEIU executive board and bargaining committee member, said in a statement. “This is a testament to our Union’s collective strength and determination.”

Before Aramark’s contract expires, the Board of Education will vote to amend that deal, increasing the overall cost by $22 million up to $148 million for the 2024 fiscal year due to “unforeseen expenditures associated with overtime, custodial supplies and custodial equipment.”

The board is set to vote on the new contracts at its Feb. 22 meeting.

Contact Matt Masterson: @ByMattMasterson[email protected] | (773) 509-5431

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