The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Chicago Gifts to Capitalists at Students’ Expense

May 9, 2016

Chicago Public Schools wants to contract out the management of engineers to a private contractor, SodexhoMagic. This is one more way to hand more money to the capitalists at students’ and workers’ expense. The company plans to profit from “savings,” which will come from laying off engineers, and which will endanger students.

Currently, the school board employs 520 engineers to maintain the boilers and heating systems at more than 600 schools. Most work at one building, but some have to shuttle between multiple schools. This already causes problems. There have been three carbon monoxide leaks at CPS schools. The worst, at Prussing Elementary, saw 80 students sent to the hospital. Prussing’s engineer works at two schools – he was not in the building the day of the leak. Contracting out will make incidents like this more likely, as more engineers have to shuttle between schools.

The school board says this move will save money. But the engineers’ union points out that the numbers of the supposed “savings” don’t add up. And when they handed school cleaning over to SodexhoMagic and Aramark, they didn’t save money, and the schools got filthier. William Iacullo, president of the engineers’ union, pointed this out: “CPS lost money when they outsourced janitors.... Our schools have never been dirtier. Our teachers and parents have had to bring their own cleaning supplies and clean the buildings themselves.... Now you want to privatize 500 engineers?”

So why did they privatize janitors, and why do they want to privatize engineers? Of course, so company investors can get rich!

It’s of a piece along with other Board schemes – handing nursing over to a contractor, giving charter school operators as many as thirteen more schools. The Board is looking for any way it can to hand money over to their friends – at the expense of students’ education and safety.