Is outsourcing CMS maintenance the answer to keep schools clean? - | WBTV Charlotte

Is outsourcing CMS maintenance the answer to keep schools clean?

(Dedrick Russell | WBTV) (Dedrick Russell | WBTV)
(Dedrick Russell | WBTV) (Dedrick Russell | WBTV)

A Mecklenburg County health inspector came to West Mecklenburg High School Thursday to look at water in one of the buildings after reports of white water coming out of a fountain.

Mecklenburg County health officials detected the problem was caused by air in the waterline and said that the water is safe to drink.

Rick Chrisenbury with the Mecklenburg County Health Department sent this statement Friday about the water issue at West Mecklenburg High School:

"Some repairs were made to the water supply line recently, and this may have caused air to enter the lines. The white appearance to the water does go away after the water flows for awhile."

West Mecklenburg High School parent Stephanie Odom believes if workers did their jobs properly then the white water could have been stopped. "Before they left somebody should have ran it," Odom said. "Don't you think?"

Odom says water is not the only issue, but facilities at the school also need attention. Odom's son tells her the bathrooms are in bad shape.

"Oh God...he says they are awful," Odom said.  "He don't even use the bathroom here. He says it stinks - it's nasty. He says "I will hold it all day.""

The conditions at some Charlotte-Mecklenburg School (CMS) facilities are reasons why Mecklenburg County Commissioner Jim Puckett thinks things would be better if maintenance was outsourced at all CMS facilities.

"It's pretty simple. You have a specific contractor and a specific cleanliness level that the contract mandates and you hold them to it," Puckett said. "If they don't do it - you fire them."

Puckett thinks privatizing maintenance at schools will ensure things will get fixed sooner.  Puckett says he will meet with CMS Superintendent Ann Clark in the next week to talk about how privatizing maintenance will work and if it will save money.

"I am going to be honest," Puckett said. "I am not looking for cost savings as much as I am cleanliness and getting this taken care of. It will be clearly cheaper for the long haul because we will not allow the buildings to get as decrepit as they are." 

CMS School Board Chairperson Mary McCray says the district does outsource some of its maintenance work, but not for any schools with children. She said that's due to safety concerns.

While Puckett concentrates on changing the way CMS does business, he says the white water coming from the fountain could have been stopped if CMS outsourced its maintenance.

"When you contract, you have preventative maintenance that hopefully would have kept that from happening," Puckett said. "You hope to catch those failures before they happen."
CMS said nobody was available for an interview for this story, but released this statement about the maintenance issues:

"Any time there is a concern about facilities, a work order is submitted to have a repair."

Copyright 2017 WBTV. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly