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Marshall ISD trustees extend contract with custodial service GCA

By Bridget Ortigo
Nov. 14, 2017 at 6 a.m.

Marshall ISD trustees on Monday decided to extend the district's custodial contract with outside firm GCA Services Group for another year in a split, 5 to 1 vote.

Marshall ISD trustee Barbara Alexander opposed the decision to renew the custodial company's services for another year on Monday, stating she didn't believe they were doing a good job. Marshall ISD trustee Mrs. Charles Wilson was absent on Monday and trustees Brad Burris, Chase Palmer, Ted Huffhines, Cathy Marshall and Helen Warwick voted for the measure.

The one-year contract costs the district about $1.1 million, Marshall ISD Superintendent Jerry Gibson said.

"I voted for it a few months ago when we were up to extend their contract even though I was not satisfied with their service," Alexander said. "I'm still not satisfied with the level of service we are receiving from them."

Most of her fellow trustees agreed with Alexander on Monday but said, at the time, it is not cost effective to the district to bring custodial services back in-house.

"I agree," Burris said. "I don't think any of us are satisfied with their service. It's not a perfect solution and we may eventually bring it back in-house but I don't think now is the time."

To bring custodial services back under the district's control, Gibson said the district would be out an additional about $550,000 due to the cost of purchasing their own equipment and supplies.

Marshall ISD trustees first voted to outsource the district's custodial services to GCA Services Group in 2012, when the district was facing a $3 million budget deficit. The move reportedly saved the district about $500,000 at the time.

Hallsville ISD also outsourced its custodial services to GCA Services Group in 2014 and then just two years later brought the custodial department back under district control.

Burris said he believes GCA Services Group is in talks to be bought out by a larger company and the district should wait to see what changes could come about from the move before making a decision.

The one-year contract renewal will buy the district time to assess what changes can be made, Burris said.

Marshall also brought up concerns out trash around the school properties and grounds that is not being picked up.

"You can't make a first impression ever again after somebody walks up," she said. "Communication is extremely important and we need our campus principals watching it closely. Let us help you."

Palmer said the duty of picking up trash around the campuses has become somewhat of a "turf war" between Marshall ISD maintenance employees and GCA Services Group custodians.

"We need to solve that," Palmer said. "I believe that's their (GCA Services Group's) job."

Marshall ISD Facilities Director Kenneth Black told trustees on Monday that a committee is being formed to oversee the cleanup at each campus.

"The current contract with GCA covers up to the first curb; they don't cover school grounds," he said. "We are putting together a committee to do spot checks at each campus. It's going to be a collaborative effort between the district and GCA and I believe we're on the right track."



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