"Utica teachers say school conditions 'increasingly filthy'"

After years of what it considers substandard, "filthy" school conditions, teachers in the Utica Community Schools district are asking the school board to reconsider its decision to privatize district custodial services.

The Utica Education Association, in its frustration with the Board of Education, released statements and photos from teachers fed up with conditions in their schools. The teachers reported "dirty and sometimes disgusting examples" of unclean classrooms, bathrooms and hallways and trash not being emptied. Teachers have resorted to cleaning several of the areas on their own.

"We have mice and a toilet that wasn't cleaned for four days. We've named a hairball in our classroom 'Trudy,'" Utica Academy for International Studies teacher Brian Burak said. "I feel badly about it because the custodians who do a good job and care, are often so beaten down by the terrible company management I've witnessed, combined with unreasonable working conditions. The cleaning equipment is older than me, and our rooms are typically not vacuumed. Yeah, that's right -- vacuumed. That said, conditions have obviously gotten dramatically worse since privatization."

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