Opinion

Letter to the Editor: Time to think about Saugus school workers and their families

In a recent staff newsletter the Saugus School Department talked of the many challenges facing Saugus public schools. To answer these challenges, employees were called on to work together in a combined effort to move the district forward. Those employees mentioned included teachers, clerks and custodians, among others.

While I agree with the newsletter’s inclusionary message, unfortunately the school administration and School Committee plan to eliminate the custodial staff and outsource their services. That decision was made long before the staff letter came out.

Saugus schools were once a community. They have become a school society where employees are thought of as encumbrances, not assets.

That outlook, whether for ostensible savings or for a political agenda, ignores the human factor. People who are very dedicated to their jobs will suffer severe economic distress if the custodial staff are eliminated and their services outsourced.

Some of these workers have children attending Saugus schools. Some are the sole caregivers for elderly parents afflicted with difficult medical issues. These very real conditions seem to count for little.

The Saugus public school’s custodians along with their fellow employees — teachers, clerks, paraprofessionals and others — continually strive to provide the optimum education environment for Saugus students.

We all care deeply for those students. It is difficult to believe that a corporate for-profit entity will approximate that concern.

I would like to thank all those who have expressed support for us including co-workers, parents, students and everyone else. In particular, I thank my fellow custodians for their years of service. Regardless of what happens, it has been my honor to represent and work with you for these many years.

Richard A. Fioravanti

Vice president, AFSCME Local 262

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