One city school trustee said it’s not right that outside help is being brought in to do work that school employees already on the payroll should be doing.
Lula Starling, a member of the Yazoo City Municipal School District board, said it concerned her that outside workers were paid to do maintenance work over the recent holiday break. She felt the local workers were not given the opportunity to report for duty.
“We have staff on board,” Starling said, to Interim Superintendent Lucille Lovette. “Is it because you don’t think they are capable of doing the job? Why do we have to go outside (the district) to buff and clean Yazoo City schools? Why can’t the (current school employees) be given the responsibility of buffing and scrubbing the floors? That’s a slap in their faces.”
Lovette said the district had no other choice than to hire outside help because the current employees did not want to work over the Christmas holidays.
Lovette said Tracey Gregory, principal at Webster Elementary School, asked if any of the maintenance crew wanted to work over the recent break.
“None of them wanted to work,” Lovette said. “We gave everybody in maintenance a choice, and they didn’t want to work.”
Lovette added that it was imperative to get the work done, particularly at Webster.
“There are a lot of children with asthma,” Lovette said, “There was a lot of dust and debris in the corners of the building that needed to be clean.”
Gregory agreed that the regular maintenance crews declined to work over the break.
“They had a choice to work, and they chose not to,” Gregory said. “They requested off, and I approved their requests.”
“I don’t believe you,” Starling replied. “There are two sides to every story, and the third side is the truth. You have people who wanted to make some money but were never given the opportunity.”
Starling continued that those same workers are frightened to speak up.
“They are afraid for their jobs if they step outside of their boundaries,” Starling said. “We should not live in a district where people are afraid to stand up and speak out.”
Starling said along the lines of dust at Webster Elementary, there are other problems.
“What about the mold,” she asked.
The mold issue wasn’t specifically addressed during Tuesday night’s meeting.
“They did not want to work,” Lovette continued. “We had to have the buildings cleaned.”