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Standing Up For Clean Schools

Local 566 members march in front of Capital Preparatory Magnet School.

Members of AFSCME Local 566, representing Hartford school custodians, maintainers and food service workers, rallied at at Capital Prep Magnet School Nov. 6 to protest shortages in staffing and supplies.

According to Local 566 President Levey Kardulis said the shortages undermine safety and cleanliness throughout the school system. Capitol Prep, for example, has only two custodians assigned to maintain 130,000 square feet. There are supposed to be four.

“How do we begin to begin to justify not having enough staff to maintain our schools?” Kardulis asked. “Clean, healthy schools are essential to a quality education and to improving property values in our city. That's what I care about as a worker and a resident of Hartford.”

Eddie Arroyo, the head custodian at Capital Prep, said Hartford schools administration needs to make a commitment to students and cleaning staff.

"We have to find the resources to clean the schools," Arroyo said. "The kids are the future. They deserve clean schools."

Added Gerry Stepina, the head custodian at Simpson-Waverly School, "I'm not afraid of hard work, but with emergencies and other situations beyond our control, the job becomes overwhelming on a daily basis."

Sherlean Nance, a veteran cook at Martin Luther King School, felt the rally sent an important message.

AFSCME Local 566 President Levey Kardulis and members talk to Channel 30.

"It's our job to feed the students and to keep our schools clean and safe," said Nance, a mother of three who lives in Hartford. "I'm here for the kids."

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