OCEAN TOWNSHIP — Assembly Members Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey introduced a new bill (A4474) this past week that mandates the consolidation of food and custodial services where services are subcontracted and establishes an educational service agency for school districts at the county level.
“When we consolidate food and custodial services, there are potential savings and benefits resulting from greater efficiencies for school districts,” said Houghtaling (D-Neptune Township). “The global pandemic has put a strain on budgets, and this bill will streamline services, in turn freeing up the budget for other amenities schools may need”
This legislation would facilitate cost savings for school districts by requiring them to contract out for custodial and school food services through an educational service agency. The educational services agency would act as an agent on behalf of the school districts during negotiations for a master contract.
“Our students’ education is our number one priority,” said Downey (D-Freehold Township). “That’s why we should be allocating more funds towards providing a better education for our children and cut down on contract fees.”
“In today’s challenging economic climate, government offices and programs are forced to consider how to do more with less. School food programs are no exception. This proposed legislation will create efficiencies through economies of scale in procurement, while preserving school district control over core school district functions and passing on these savings to the school district.” Kevin Brown, NJ State Director and Vice President, SEIU 32BJ.
This bill also protects employees providing custodial and food services who may be subject to disruptive and unnecessary displacement.