Custodial staff running low

Cleaning the school is a ‘team’ effort


Noah Thomas

There has been a recent decline in custodial staff, making some of the crew work longer hours and causing a change in the way SHS is kept clean.

Haley Miller, Reporter

Working eight hour shifts, and sometimes more on evenings with extracurricular events, night foreman Charles Lawlis has watched the custodial workload double. He has to find ways to complete more tasks than before, when they were formerly done by other custodians.

“(I) try to tag team the areas (that need to be cleaned),” Lawlis said. “Sometimes it’s hard. Sometimes I have to pull people from their regular jobs to go to other stuff.”

Lawlis is not the only one facing repercussions from the lack of custodial staff. SHS’s inability to fill the current vacancies has changed the way cleaning crews operate and maintain the school.  

According to Lawlis, the custodial crew is trying to find solutions for being understaffed. They have had to take on roles that stray from their normal responsibilities. Lawlis, for example, recently had to start cleaning up after boys basketball games.

Similarly, custodian Tim Patterson has faced an increase in the number of his tasks. He says restrooms, floors, windows and doors have all become harder to keep clean because of the unfilled custodial positions. However, he says that solutions are already in progress.

“(Administration is) already in the process (of) working on it now,” Patterson said. “(We) just got some more (custodians) in, (and we are) trying to get it back up to normal.”

Assistant principal Andrew Ashcraft agrees that the positions will eventually be filled, but he thinks the process is more extensive. He says it is a statewide issue, as not as many people want to work, despite the fact that places like SHS offer paid benefits and hourly wages of $12.34 during the day and $12.49 at night. According to Ashcraft, this is a comparatively high wage. Decatur Township, for example, pays less, with a starting salary of $11.30 an hour.

“The problem is that there aren’t people necessarily applying for the position,” Ashcraft said. “The people that will apply, well… I’m not ever going to put someone who I don’t feel is gonna be (in the) best interest of our school.”

Some solutions that have been temporarily implemented, Ashcraft says, include a rotating schedule and the use of substitute custodians. The substitutes come to SHS three days a week, leaving only some areas of the school to be cleaned nightly. The remaining areas are placed on the rotating cleaning schedule.

Though the solutions are only temporary, Ashcraft says there are ways students can help in the meantime, like cleaning up after themselves. He challenges everyone to be active in solving the problem and to recognize all of the hard work that the SHS custodians do.

“Be part of the solution, not part of the problem,” Ashcraft said. “… I really want (SHS students) to have the cleanest, nicest facilities. And we have a beautiful school, so let’s keep it that way. But we have to be a team and we have to do it together.”