To the Newton School Committee
I just heard that the Newton Schools Dept may be considering outsourcing janitorial services at our schools. In case that’s true, I want to share a story with you:
I have a good friend named Brenda Anziano. She’s a principal of an elementary school in Fairfield CT, a town somewhat like Newton – i.e. an affluent bedroom community with a good school system.
Four or five years ago Brenda was a principal of a different school in Fairfield. The head of the school department approached her about moving Brenda to a different school in town. She had a great track record and they wanted her to take over at another school that could use her experience. Brenda had a single non-negotiable condition about making the move. She would only go if she could take her head custodian with her.
As Brenda tells it (approximately). “Working with the academics, teaching staff, curriculum – that’s what I do and I do it well. If the physical plant and maintenance has problems it can undermine everything we do, cause huge morale problems, upset parents and kids. I need some one I completely trust to be responsible for keeping the physical building running smoothly – because if it doesn’t I’m screwed and I can’t fix it.”
— Jerry Reilly – parent of a Newton middle-schooler