Cawley's 'Dry Zamboni' can't climb the walls or the stairs... so ARAMARK doesn't have to clean the poo on the walls of the stalls?

At the February 2014 meeting of the Chicago Board of Education, the members of the Board voted unanimously to replace the existing custodial workers and contractors with the "world class" corporate custodial work presented (as in the above Power Point) by CAO (Chief Administrative Officer) Tim Cawley. Above, Cawley's Power Point, like most of those being presented by CPS executives, missed a bit of the reality of schools. According to Cawley (above) the corporate replacements would bring something called "world class" standards to what had apparently been a failing program for cleaning CPS schools. Within three months, the disgusting realities on the walls and in the stalls was becoming apparent -- to everyone except the members of the school board and the executives, who never visit the places where the children have to do their duties and someone has to clean up after them. Everyone in the leadership of America's third largest school system knows that a big corporatioin can always do a public job better than public workers, either teachers or engineers or custodial workers. For the seven members of the Chicago Board of Education and Chicago's mayor, it's a matter of faith, if not reason, proof or logic. And so, as the 2013 - 2014 school year ends, Chicago Public Schools has instituted a new corporate pioneering sure-fire best way to make sure that all school are cleaned to a "standard" never before reached in school cleaningness. Or at least that's the official position of the members of Chicago school board and their executives. And their Power Points.

The implementation of the latest patronage corporate "reform" privatization scheme in the nation's third largest school system had barely begun when we began hearing about every little bit of problems that have arisen, so to speak, with that corporate masterpiece, the replacement of human school cleaners with -- well, we guess it's robots and technology.

Fans of the Chicago Board of Education will remember that a few months ago, when doing his immortal Power Point depicting how much better and cleaner schools would be under this latest privatization stuff, Chief Administrative Officer Tim Cawley talked about how the new contractors (who were awarded the contracts after the local old contractors were dumped) would use the latest state-of-the-art chemicals and a zamboni looking thingy that we nicknamed the "Dry Zamboni" (like a dry something else; use your imagination...).

While Chicago's latest corporate contractors debug their latest corporate school cleaning projects, ARAMARK has failed to clean a school or two for over a week, resulting in some children leaving a signature feature behind. Thanks to a parent reporter who asked to remain anonymous, Substance published the first of what may be many "poo on the walls" photos depicting the latest reality check facing Chicago's version of corporate school reform. Readers can send additional favorite photos to sooner had the word about that bit of corporate propaganda gotten around than we began hearing from engineers asking the simplest questions, ranging from how was the Dry Zamboni going to climb the stairs at buildings without elevators to whether it could clean the walls and ceilings when the more noisome among the children got really creative with toilet paper and human waste products.

And so, in the mail and checked out, we got an email from a concerned parent who followed one of the many Substance rules for checking out a school and photographed the stalls in one washroom after ARAMARK had missed cleaning that school for a full week. Our source, who has been reliable for years, asked to remain anonymous. We will provide the same journalistic respect for others who want to bring similar atrocities and hypocrisies to our attention as the school year draws to a close and CPS again claims that "billion dollar deficit" we thought they were ashamed to utter since their CAFR proved, again, that last year's version was a lie.

Poo on the walls and no toilet paper in the newly installed trademarked toilet paper places.

And you haven't even seen the ceilings of some other places.

Apparently, Chicago's "Chief Administrative Officer" also neglected to put into the contract that the corporate saviors should pay their custodial workers. Substance has been hearing for several weeks that the new contractors are not paying all their workers on time every payday.

For more than 30 years, parents have asked Substance how to tell whether a school was a good place for the children. We always offered two starters, neither of which involved "data" or corporate versions of reality.

First, do the fence stand at closing time. Just stand outside the building for three or four days in a row and watch the children leave. And listen. If you hear lots of variations on the "F" word, see some fights, witness some bullying, and are otherwise challenged by fear, think twice. Also, count how many children are carrying books and book bags.

Second, get inside the building without an official escort and go to the children's washroom farthest from the principal's office. Go inside and close a stall door, if there is one. If you can read the graffiti and some of it is old, think thrice. Also, consider whether this is where you would want to sit for a few minutes to relive yourself.

Forget the Power Points of the powerful. Most of the Power Point presentations from CPS executives the past year have been slick deliveries by people who never taught a day in a Chicago public school or served for a week as a CPS principal. And you wonder why the principals got angry -- finally?


May 28, 2014 at 10:03 AM

By: John Kierig

poo and urine...

is a problem at my school. so is gang grafitti.

and both take several days of complaining to get cleaned up/off.

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