Custodial office remains understaffed


Issac Coltman

A custodian cart stands in the hallway. Lincoln’s custodial office is understaffed following the move to the new building.

Lincoln’s new building has brought three basketball courts, locker rooms and weight rooms. It has brought a full auditorium and black box theater. It has brought over a dozen bathrooms and a cafeteria seating hundreds. It has six stories, stocked full of classrooms cycling over 1,500 students a day. 

With this 50% increase in surface area there has been no increase in custodial staff.

Chief Custodian Roger Hastings says he needs at least two additional custodians to meet the new cleaning demand.

I have mapped out ten different areas of the building, [and] an ideal staffing level would require two additional swing shift custodians over the ideal staffing level from the old building,” Hastings said.

As Lincoln’s Principal Peyton Chapman explains, the matter is out of Lincoln’s hands.

Custodians are placed in schools by Portland Public Schools (PPS) Central Supervisors who stay within the PPS Board approved budget. Individual schools can not adjust the number of custodians,” said Chapman in an email.

Chapman added that she is aware that all schools, not just Lincoln, need more custodial support.

Hastings agreed that the decision regarding funding must be made by the PPS school board.

Stetson James, the PPS utilities manager for Grant and Jefferson high schools, said that positions aren’t being filled because of a lack of applicants.

“We have about seven positions available [across the district] and nobody is taking them. Nobody wants to work, that’s about all there is to it,” James said.

Lincoln and Ida B. Wells utilities manager Antonye Harris was out of the office and the Cardinal Times was directed to James.