CCSD in the Midst of Custodial Shortage

Administration battles ongoing staff shortages


Kalista Palacra

Throwing away his leftover lunch, junior Narek Tonoyan makes sure that his surroundings are clean before lunch dismissal. Custodians and supporting staff have to work in a timely and efficient manner to ensure a sanitary campus. “Health inspectors visited a couple weeks ago, and we still got A’s in all of our kitchens,” Assistant Principal Cameron Roehm said. “It’s nice that even with a shorter staff, they’re working really hard to make it [campus] good for every student and staff member.”

Ashley Harris, News and Features Editor

With there only being five custodians instead of eight, the general upkeep and cleanliness of the campus has been impacted. While students and clubs participate in campus cleanups, the ongoing employee shortage continues to impact campuses districtwide 

“This has been an issue since 2020 when we started to come back from the COVID shutdown,” Assistant Principal Cameron Roehm said. “They’ll [custodians] will look at what they can make in our district money wise and compare it to private companies that are paying more, so it becomes hard for the school and district to compete with these outside entities. If they can make more in a different place, of course they’re going to make that decision.” 

On top of their usual tasks, like vacuuming each classroom or emptying trash cans, there have been increased incidents of vandalism in bathrooms that add to the workload. 

“It’s a big deterrent when custodians already have enough to do, and then students and staff add extra things,” Roehm said. “They’re already short staffed, and already filling in for other people. It hurts their motivation, hurts their energy, and hurts their drive because now they have more to do. They could focus on cleaning an area a little deeper, instead they have to hit these areas which is very unfair to them.”

Hiring for this position is a lengthy and difficult process as a background check is required by Nevada state law. Candidates must go through a background check and fingerprinting, which takes the FBI anywhere from three to six weeks to return. 

“By the time I hire somebody, they’ve taken a job somewhere else,” Principal Donna Levy said. “It’s extraordinarily difficult to get people when the pay scale is so low, and people can make more money and have a faster return by taking a job in a private industry. It [pay] is something that the district controls. If it were up to me, all of our support staff would get a raise. They work very hard to keep this place running and clean.” 

Having been made aware of the issue, teachers and staff are making efforts to alleviate the workload for the custodial staff. 

“My room can’t get vacuumed everyday, and out of all the classrooms in the school mine is one of the messier ones,” Fashion Design teacher Levi Harbeson said. “A lot of stuff gets dropped onto the floor like thread or fabric, so it’s a little more challenging to keep the room tidy. We do our best to pick up after class everyday or put the garbage in the halls to help the custodial staff feel respected and taken care of.” 

Some believe it is up to students to maintain a clean campus for an optimal learning environment. 

“I’m disappointed when I see people leaving their garbage on the lunch tables or floor, and it makes it so much easier on the janitors if people were to pick up after themselves,” senior Maha Chaudry said. “It’s an easy fix, and there would be a difference in the mess around school and in the workload on janitors.”