Weekend custodians Lani Belanger, Tomas Herrera, and Daweet Mahari, respectively from Drake, Redwood, and Tam, were notified on March 13 that their positions will likely be dissolved next school year as part of a series of budget cuts passed by the Tamalpais Union High School District. The decision will be finalized on May 15.
“It’s going to cost us, depending on how it works out, to work a lot of overtime over the weekends,” head Tam custodian Robert Amaral said about losing Mahari. “We still have to cover the facilities for any events going on on campus.”
According to principal J.C. Farr, cutting the position will have a negative impact on nighttime and weekend events at Tam. Amaral agreed, adding that Mahari’s absence will also affect any students who play sports over the weekend, as there will be nobody to set up and clean up their equipment.
Farr also addressed staff morale. “I think there’s some uncertainty, there’s speculation and rumor. We don’t want people wondering if [their job] is safe … those kind of feelings can create stress,” he said.
Amaral expressed his hope for the budget crisis to improve soon. “In future years, if things keep going the way they are going … yes, I’m worried.”
Head Redwood custodian Tim Mullery wrote an email on March 21, urging the board to reconsider letting go of any classified personnel due to budget cuts, as he believes the district is already understaffed.
Mullery wrote that weekend janitors, as well as other employees paid by the hour, provide essential services to the students and to the school. “On the weekends [the weekend custodians] do weekly checks of fire extinguishers, eye wash stations, elevators, wheelchair lifts and A.E.D. machine and report any issue to their lead custodian. If an emergency was to occur all school sites know that the equipment needed to deal with these situations is ready to go,” his email read. “… I hope that reading all of this information the district will realize that laying off employees to balance the budget is simply not an option.”