May 29, 2016
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Chicago, IL – The Chicago Board of Education voted unanimously May 25 to double the size of a program to privatize school maintenance, increasing the number of schools where the SodexoMAGIC company handles custodial and engineering services, snow removal, landscaping, and pest control from 33 to 63.
The school system will also put 18 schools managed by Aramark into a similar maintenance program. William Iacullo, president of the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 143, denounced the plan as a “money pit scheme.” “These are the same companies with complaints against them for dirty, filthy schools,” he told the school board. “But you guys are going to reward them with an expansion.” He said that if plans to privatize the custodial program at all city schools in 2017-18 go through, “all of us eventually would be hired by the private vendor,” and current workers didn’t know what qualifications they would require. SodexoMAGIC is partly owned by former basketball star Earvin “Magic” Johnson, who contributed $250,000 to Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s re-election campaign in 2015, not long after the company got an $80 million school-maintenance contract. Read more