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Facts You Should Know

Rahm Emanuel and Forrest Claypool’s privatization schemes are ruining our schools.  While CPS schools are threatened with 30 percent budget cuts, teacher layoffs, staff cutbacks and supply shortages – SodexoMagic Facilities Management Company funneled $250,000 in campaign cash to Rahm Emanuel in exchange for a lucrative contract award of $80 million to privatize our engineers and custodians.  Aramark Corporation also received $282 million in contracts for custodial management where both companies divert some $50 million in annual profits from our classrooms in the Board of Education’s expanding pilot program, costing our taxpayers millions.

“Magic Johnson [Sodexo] and the mayor: $250,000 donated after $80 million CPS deal”

– Chicago Tribune, ‘Magic’ Johnson and the mayor: $250,000 donated after $80 million CPS deal, March 19, 2015, by David Heinzmann , John Chase and Jeff Coen

“These are schools that are already entirely privatized with outsourced engineers and custodians, and we’re going to do a trial there where Sodexo manages everything in the building,” said CPS Chief Administrator Tim Crowley

– Chicago Tribune, ‘Magic’ Johnson and the mayor: $250,000 donated after $80 million CPS deal, March 19, 2015, by David Heinzmann , John Chase and Jeff Coen

Once campaign cash is paid and lucrative contracts are awarded, Sodexo’s pattern and practices of overbilling continues, costing schools vital resources and taxpayers millions. Rahm Emanuel, Forrest Claypool and the Board need to know the community of professional educators, staff and parents will hold them accountable.

“Attorney General…announced today a $20 million settlement with food services provider Sodexo for overcharging 21 New York school districts.”

– New York Attorney General Press Release, July 21, 2010

Sodexo paid $80 million in damages to its African American employees for racist behavior and systematic discrimination.  Now Rahm Emanuel and Forrest Claypool are rewarding the very same companies with lucrative contracts and millions in profits. What message does that send to the children who attend our schools and the parent and staff who support our schools?

“…Sodexo paid $80 million in April of 2005 to settle a lawsuit brought by the company’s thousands of black employees, who claimed that they were routinely barred from promotions and segregated within the company.”

Huffington Post, Outsourcing America: Sodexo Siphons Cash From Kids and Soldiers while Dishing Up Subprime Food, November 24, 2013, by Rebekah Wilce and Mary Bottari

Prior to SodexoMagic and Aramark, Local 143 Engineers provided custodial oversight and reported directly to principals at no additional cost. Our schools were consistently clean, safe and responsive to each school’s principal.  SodexoMagic and Aramark custodians now report to their corporations instead of principals and their combined profits divert an estimated $50 million annually from classrooms to private profits.  The Board plans to insert these same companies in all CPS schools despite their lack of responsiveness to principals’ needs and “filthy” conditions pervasive in the schools they manage.

“Parents at West Side school volunteer – to clean restrooms and classrooms”

Chicago Tribune, Parents at West Side school volunteer – to clean restrooms and classrooms, December 19, 2015, by Marwa Eltagouri

“…Complaints about dirty school buildings piled up after CPS hired the contractors [Sodexo and Aramark]. Questions about cleanliness of the schools intensified after Aramark laid off nearly 480 custodians.”

– Chicago Tribune, ‘Magic’ Johnson and the mayor: $250,000 donated after $80 million CPS deal, March 19, 2015, by David Heinzmann , John Chase and Jeff Coen

The Board plans to privatize engineers to impose a “skeleton crew” of engineers and custodians in all CPS schools. On May 25th the Board voted to privatize building engineers in almost 50 schools, giving more control over school maintenance to Aramark and Sodexo which have both been widely criticized by principals, staff, students and parents for two years.  Unchecked, the Board will eventually move to privatize professional educators.

“Parents claim the unsanitary bathroom conditions, overflowing garbage cans and soiled napping cots are the result of inadequate custodial care following the Chicago Board of Education’s decision last spring to award multimillion-dollar custodial management contracts to two firms, Aramark and Sodexo…”

Chicago Tribune, Parents at West Side school volunteer – to clean restrooms and classrooms, December 19, 2015, 6:19 p.m., by Marwa Eltagouri

Sodexo and Aramark have been removed from countless schools for overbilling, unethical practices and poor performance, and they need to be removed from CPS.  When scarce public funds are diverted to private profit with little fiscal accountability, when principals are denied oversight of custodians and engineers in favor of distant corporate managers, and when the safety and cleanliness of our schools deteriorate for lack of adequate staffing by skeleton crews – schools, children and learning suffer.

“… Numerous school districts and other institutions — including eleven universities — have cancelled some or all contracts with Sodexo…”

Huffington Post, Outsourcing America: Sodexo Siphons Cash From Kids and Soldiers while Dishing Up Subprime Food, November 24, 2013,, by Rebekah Wilce and Mary Bottari

“Three or four kids fell, and two more were crying… Word spread quickly… that shoveling the sidewalk is the responsibility of the Sutherland’s janitorial staff, which was handed over to Aramark this year.”  “Parents vented not only about the unsafe sidewalks but also about the unkempt conditions at the school…” 

Substance News, Icy Sidewalks Spark Outrage Over Janitorial Services at Sutherland, January 12, 2016, by Howard Ludwig