Schools to go more 'green'

COVINGTON - Newton County Schools' custodial team is expected to be green by March when they take on a new environmentally friendly janitorial service.

The Newton County Board of Education approved at its January meeting a $400,000 contract for a custodial supply and green cleaning program with Associated Paper Inc. of Conyers.

"In an ongoing review of continuous improvement, the maintenance department, working with the purchasing coordinator, determined that it may be more efficient and effective for the school system to contract services for an environmentally friendly comprehensive custodial cleaning and supply program," according to a recommendation from NCSS Superintendent Steve Whatley. "The program would be managed by the vendor receiving the contract, and the vendor would be responsible for all training, ordering of supplies and materials, monitoring of supplies, serving of equipment and offering the purchases of equipment at a discounted price."

The contracted cost includes the cost for equipment repair and service and the purchase of new equipment, according to the recommendation.

"We typically budget $300,000 for custodial supplies and materials and at least $100,000 for repairs and equipment purchases," Whatley's recommendation reads. "This ($400,000) figure is very much in line with typical expenditures but with more controls in place."

Deborah Robertson, associate superintendent for administration for NCSS, said at the board's February meeting that the program should be ready to be implemented by the first of March.

The process to start this program began in August, when the request for proposals were sent out; by Nov. 2, NCSS had received seven proposals.

"The purchasing coordinator reviewed all seven proposals and noted that they each met all administrative requirements," according to Whatley's recommendation.

The proposals then moved on to the technical evaluation, during which a committee - that included four school system employees, the system custodial supervisor, a high school assistant principal, a school facilities coordinator and an elementary school head custodian - scored the proposals for mandatory requirements, quality and completeness.

"The top four vendors were invited to present to the technical evaluation committee their program and allow the committee members to ask any questions," Whatley's recommendation reads. "After the presentations, each committee member scored each vendor."

The top two vendors - Associated Paper of Conyers and Thornton Brothers of Athens - then moved on to the final financial evaluation.

"The committee determined that although Thornton Brothers had the lower annual cost for planning, supplies and training, Associated Paper offered greater quality in service and products for very little additional cost," thus leading to Whatley's recommendation of Associated Paper, his recommendation reads.

Robertson said the school system has never initiated any program such as this before, so they plan to heavily monitor the services.

"This is something new ... and we don't know how it will be, but we'd like to give it a try," she said. "We feel in the long run it will save us money."

The contract is renewable at the end of each contracted year.

Michelle Floyd can be reached at michelle.floyd@ newtoncitizen.com.