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Burley High School

Burley High School is one of the district's 18 student occupied building.

BURLEY — The Cassia County School District trustees are working on a contract with ABM, a national facility managing company, to take over the district’s maintenance and facility operations on July 1.

The district predicts the contract will save $300,000 the first year, according to a press release issued by the district.

ABM will take over the custodial, maintenance and grounds care for the district. The district has 18 student-occupied buildings and manages nearly 60 buildings.

The board’s primary reason for making the change is to use resources, time and expertise efficiently.

“We are in the education business, not in the facility management business,” Trustee Darin Moon said. “We can’t address many important educational issues because we spend a disproportionate amount of time managing our buildings.”

Business Manager Chris James said the expected savings will range from 5% to 15%, based on current maintenance and operations budgets.

The district will take the savings and put it back into facilities and into the reserve fund.

The savings can “allow partially funded programs to receive additional dollars,” Trustee Bruce Thompson said. “The savings will not simply impact facilities but many areas.”

The savings will help pay for equipment, training, oversight and employee benefits.

The transitional phase will be in June with summer work and outdoor maintenance beginning on July 1. No stoppage of work is anticipated. The details of the contract will reflect the district’s needs at each school along with district-wide needs.

All interested employees will have the opportunity to transfer to ABM with comparable salary and benefits. ABM also has advancement opportunities that the district does not have, training, new equipment and other benefits.

The board declared a financial emergency and directed staff to begin the contract process after a special board meeting was called on May 6, the release said and it will finalize the contract during the June 20 meeting.

The district is the sixth district to contract with the company and one of dozens in the state to switch portions of operations to private contractors.

ABM has a professional program with a track record at 500 institutions across the country and the company’s competence and reliability was checked and referenced by the district.

“Looking ahead, there will be many questions. Change is never easy and we will work to ensure that the change process is managed as well as is possible,” Jim Shank, district superintendent said.

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