By Katie Cederborg and Rachel Owen
Photo by Alex Hays
The absence of janitorial service on Santa Rosa High School’s campus has become increasingly apparent as garbage continues to pile high from Burke Hall all the way to the Main Building. With students being seemingly incapable of throwing away their trash, keeping the grounds clean has always been an issue; however, the mess that exists on campus shows that there is in fact more to this issue than the usual disorder. The low number of these custodians due to illness and vacation time has turned Santa Rosa High School into a recipe for disaster made of molding ingredients. Like the uncleanliness during the mid-1800s, this stomach-turning mess needs to be addressed. The blame should not be placed on the custodial staff, as with such a low number on campus, it is practically impossible for these staff members to keep up with the waste of over 2,000 students. However, we do highly encourage the district to see to increasing wage for these custodians and organizing a better system for finding substitutes.
Santa Rosa High School’s campus, which spans 43 acres, the largest in the district, has had one full time custodian and one half time working the last couple weeks due to the high absentee rate. Although we have seven full-time custodians on record, Santa Rosa High School has not been fully staffed for weeks, and few substitute custodians are inclined to work temporarily as the job only pays $14.61 an hour. As one can imagine, most people would not be able to afford the expense of living in Santa Rosa on a substitute custodian salary particularly because they are not guaranteed work everyday.
Santa Rosa High School’s condition is the unfortunate consequence. Most simply stated, the district needs to increase the pay for these custodians, and improve their working conditions (i.e. more custodians assigned to larger campuses). If this improvement means making this a district-wide change, we highly encourage district officials to address this.
The solution to this problem is not the occasional weekend trash pickup, but an increase in custodial staff overall. Although this problem has only increased, it isn’t a new issue. Santa Rosa High School has long been understaffed on the custodial front. There have been dozens of accounts of fruit flies in classrooms, molding trash cans, and even dead animals found under buildings. However, despite numerous complaints during school board meetings, emails, and letters, the district has yet to do anything about the ongoing issue.
Considering the district’s failure to recognize Santa Rosa High School’s extraordinarily unclean state, we kindly plead that Santa Rosa City Schools hires an additional custodian to assist in tending to this massive campus and the growing number of students that attend it. In terms of efficiency, there is absolutely no way that one full time custodian and one part time custodian can keep the campus clean for its students, and this is what we are left with at this time.