Wake County Schools

Wake parents play 'janitor' as school board works to find funds

Posted August 14, 2012
Updated August 15, 2012

— Many parents are used to cleaning up dirt, dust and sticky spills at home, but dozens of Wake County parents have been pulling double duty at their children’s schools after the school board slashed 70 janitor jobs last year.

To avoid cutting teacher jobs, the school board cut janitor positions and cut back on the number of days each of the 165 schools was cleaned. Last month, after receiving the final state budget, the board was able to allocate an additional $3 million to add back one day of cleaning per week.

The board voted Tuesday night to approve two cleaning contracts worth more than $1 million. More contracts are being negotiated, district leaders said.

Durant Road Middle is one of the affected schools and, now that the school board has approved the money, will be swept and mopped three nights a week instead of two. The school currently has one janitor for about 1,000 students.

“We’re seeing more people doing a little bit more. Everyone pulls their weight in tough times, and I respect that,” said school board member John Tedesco. “I'd rather our teachers spend time on teaching. I'd rather our parents spend time on volunteering and helping their children and not necessarily sweeping."

Wake parents play 'janitor' as school board tries to find funds Wake parents play 'janitor' as school board tries to find funds

Parent Patty Shealey is one of those volunteers and recently spent part of her day vacuuming a second-grade classroom.

“I come in and vacuum sometimes for the classrooms where my children are every day and help clean up the classrooms, because they track in so much dirt from outside. It makes it so much nicer when they come in and it’s cleaner,” she said.


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  • gretchen3 Aug 22, 2012

    Okay, I never comment on stories, this is indeed my first; however, I have copied and pasted a Facebook status I made today here- AM I OVERREACTING??!? Nicole came home today & when I asked her how her day was, instead of the normal "boring" I got "it sucked, I'm on lunch duty this week" So I asked her "lunch duty? What's that?" So she explained to me that the students rotate having to stay and wipe down the tables and sweep the floors. WHAT!?!? Don't they have janitors to do that? She said that she has to skip recess and she's late for class. Okay, 3 problems w/ this- 1) It's not her JOB! 2) I do NOT want her coming in to contact with food that other kids have had in their hands and mouths, and 3) She has to miss recess AND she's late for class?! Be honest, am I making too big of a deal out of this?

    The response was unanimous, unless this is done as a punishment, it is ridiculous and I will take this as far up the chain as I need to.

  • jlyn67 Aug 16, 2012

    A simple response to those who would complain about inmates cleaning the schools is to not bring them in until the children are gone for the day!

  • erichamilton95 Aug 15, 2012

    but thwy planing on building all these school before 2014 come on now some one need to retire

  • JohnnyMcRonny Aug 15, 2012

    If the kids are making the mess then I don't understand why the parents don't take their kids with them and make them clean up. "It's okay, make a mess in class - mommy will come a clean up after you."

  • charmcclainlovesdogs2 Aug 15, 2012

    How about we take some folks on unemployment

    Now that would be a good idea, but they would expect some payment for doing the work.

  • charmcclainlovesdogs2 Aug 15, 2012

    let the best behaved inmates - non violent- do these extra cleanings -

    We don't want these inmates on our school property. There are plenty of places they can do that kind of work while in prison. Oh, lets not forget the child-molesters, they don't need to be there either.

  • charmcclainlovesdogs2 Aug 15, 2012

    When they do find the money, they should at least pay these parents.

  • freeadvice Aug 15, 2012

    scubagirl - good idea - let the best behaved inmates - non violent- do these extra cleanings -

  • joe24 Aug 15, 2012

    Yep cut the janitors not the admin making their 150,000 or more. We were cut at our dist as well, lost my job because of some know it all super with a Dr's degree.

    You for get one thing about being a janitor (well at least in NJ) is training.

    I can't wait for on mom or dad to get MRSA from cleaning a class room and suing the school.

  • linspace Aug 15, 2012

    Awesome, now some of these parents might actually see how their little angels really act in school. Amidst the lies they tell their parents about the teachers.. and these parents believe the stuff.