40 custodians will be laid off from Lamar Co. schools

40 custodians will be laid off from Lamar Co. schools
(Photo source: WDAM)

LAMAR COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - A new contract with a custodial service will result in layoffs of 40 custodians who work at Lamar County schools in the 2018-2019 school year, according to the superintendent.

Tess Smith said Jani King has been under contract for janitorial services with Oak Grove High School for several years. In March, two more schools were added to the contract. Smith was asked by the school board to try and get the service district wide.

"A lot of negotiations went into play, we came up with a number that we thought we could afford and put that before the board," Smith said.

The board approved the contract for the 2018-2019 school year.

"Jani King will not begin their services until January 2019," Smith said.

After the board approved the contract, Smith met with each custodian to work with them on other employment opportunities within the district.

"They can either go to work for Jani King in 2018, or over the next five months apply for positions open within the district similiar to their pay grade," Smith said.

Those positions include bus drivers, bus monitors, personal care assistants and assistant teachers.

Smith said that the decision in part was budgetary, but also she and the board were pleased with Jani King's services.

"I feel for these custodians, some I have worked with since I started my career here," Smith said. "We want them to work for us, doing other things in the district."

Smith said she will work with the custodians as much as she can to help them find other employment.