Chicago Public Schools Taking Over Facilities Management

Chicago Public Schools (CPS) will once again take control over the cleaning and upkeep of its 600-plus buildings starting in October, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.

Last year, CPS announced its plan to transition from using building service contractors (BSCs)  Aramark and Sodexo to manage the cleaning of its buildings. The companies had been providing cleaning staff management to CPS since 2017.

In May, CPS temporarily extended contracts with these two companies until September 30. On October 1, it will begin operating under a new facilities management model, which includes a three-year US$375 million contract with Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL). The model is the latest in a series of initiatives from CPS.

Under the new contract, JJL will provide supplementary staffing, like building engineers, and offer advice when needed, according to CPS. However, the district will oversee the workers. The district’s facilities department central office staff will hold all subcontracts and manage building maintenance and emergency service requests for all 70 million square feet at CPS. Principals will place an online request for building maintenance and track their ticket requests through a new district-run request system, which will include a hotline for emergencies.

CPS is optimistic the new contract with JLL will lead to increased staffing, better transparency, and shorter response times for school principals who complained about filthy schools and slow service response times. Clarence Carson, CPS’ facilities chief, told the Sun-Times that after receiving feedback and principals’ input, he came up with the idea for the new facilities management model.

“What we’re doing now is putting it back into the hands of the district through a centralized management model but through the department,” Carson said. “We own this solution, we own this model, we are responsible for it. And we’ll make sure it works out.”

Lindy McGuire, CPS’ acting chief operating officer, told the Sun-Times, the new model will be responsive to the principals’ complaints. “We have heard from them, they want more control, they want better service,” McGuire said. “And this model will provide greater control for CPS and therefore greater control for the principals.”



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