The West Windsor-Plainsboro Board of Education has renewed its contract with Edvocate for the upcoming 2011-’12 school year.
Edvocate, the board’s consultant, will be paid $24,000 to monitor the district’s facilities contract with Aramark. The contract, approved at the board’s May 24 meeting, is the second-year renewal of the district’s agreement with Edvocate.
Edvocate has been overseeing the custodial services provided by Aramark, which was awarded a two-year $9.2-million contract last April, effectively privatizing the district’s custodial staff. Aramark provides custodial, maintenance, grounds, and management services to the district.
The contract ended a seventh-month campaign by the 120 in-house custodians and maintenance employees who fought to save their jobs.
Edvocate was originally hired by the board in 2009 to study the costs associated with the district’s in-house custodial staff in comparison with privatization. Edvocate found that the district could save a little more than $3 million over a two-year period through privatization of its custodial services in late 2009.
The board went out to bid for the work, received four bids, and found that the private companies offered 50 percent more in savings than projected by Edvocate, and a contract was awarded to Aramark.
The cost to the district under the Aramark contract is $4.6 million each in the first and second years.
While the former in-house custodians had projected to save between $2.13 million and $2.67 million through their proposed reorganization of the buildings and grounds department, the board’s finance committee said it found that their proposal would only save $435,730 over a two-year period — not enough to meet the $1.5 million the board needed to save over a two-year period.