Page 8 THE SAUGUS ADVOCATE – Friday, May 10, 2019 Saugus High students show support for school custodians who could lose their jobs By Mark E. Vogler T hree Saugus High School seniors – one of them the daughter of a Saugus School Committee member – joined the crowd gathered in front of Saugus Town Hall early Monday evening showing support for the school custodians who could lose their jobs if the School Committee votes to privatize janitorial services. “We’re here because we appreciate the custodians and everything they do for the students,” said Jana Morgante, one of the co-captains of the Saugus High girls’ lacrosse team. “They’re always there for us. We figure we’d be there for them as well. They care about us. They care about all of the kids,” she said. Jana’s mother – Lisa Morgante – sits on the five-member School Committee and will be voting later this spring on whether to hire an outside company to replace the school district’s 21 custodians. Makenzie Lloyd, the other co-captain of the girls’ lacrosse Fully Licensed & Insured team, and teammate Cailey MacEachern also participated in the picketing outside of Town Hall as Saugus town officials and Town Meeting members arrived for Monday’s opening night of the Annual Town Meeting. “They’re very involved with our lives when they don’t have to be,” Cailey said. “A lot of people just don’t know how much they go out of their way to help the students. They’re taken for granted. So, I think it’s important to recognize how great they are as people,” she said. Makenzie echoed the sentiments of her teammates. “I’m thankful for the bonds they have created with the students at the High School and appreciate everything they do for us,” she said. Veteran High School Custodian Carlos Gonzalez, 56, said he hopes the members of the School Committee would talk with students and parents to find out the overall contributions that he and his colleagues make daily to SauEmergency Service Available 24/7 SPECIALIZING IN KITCHEN & BATHROOM REMODELING * Heating * Cooling * Electric * Tile All Estimates Done By Owner * Drain Cleaning 781-FIX-PIPE (349-7473) • crnplumbing@gmail.com gus Public Schools. “I hope the School Committee realizes this is our town and we are essential workers,” Gonzalez said. “Privatization is the wrong avenue. Going on the cheap is not the way for them to go, and there’s actually no savings in the long run. I put in 10 hours a day and get paid for eight. Everyone knows we all do – we all go the extra mile,” he said. “Kids know us by our names. The custodians do a lot more than clean the buildings. We’re part of the community and we’re part of the school. With the new High School that’s being built, it’s going to be even more difficult to maintain. Everybody knows us. If the School Committee votes to privatize, do they know who they’re going to have in the schools?” Gonzalez, a father of four children, from ages 12 to 26, said he and most of the custodians have vast institutional knowledge about the old buildings they work in. He has worked 21 as a custodian at Saugus Public Schools. “When I started, there was a big issue with air quality … I’m the one who is responsible for dealing with all of the filters and air conditioners and making sure they are working right … There’s a total of 22 air conditioners and almost every classroom has a filter,” he said. Members from unions representing various town employee groups were there on the lawn at Town Hall on Monday, waving signs at passing motorists – many who beeped their horns to show support for the school custodians. 505 Broadway Everett, MA 02149 Tel: 617-387-1120 www.gkdental.com • Family Dentistry • Crowns • Bridges • Veneers/Lumineers • Dental Implants • All on 4 Dental Implants • Emergency Dentist • Kid Friendly Dentist • Root Canals • Dentures • Invisalign Braces • Snap On Smile • Teeth Whitening We are the smile care experts for your entire family MAKING A STATEMENT: Saugus Public Schools custodians, supporters, students and various town union representatives picket outside Saugus Town Hall on Monday night, the opening night for this year’s annual Town Meeting. BACKING THE CUSTODIANS: Left to right, Makenzie Lloyd, Jana Morgante and Cailey MacEachern – Saugus High School seniors and members of the girls’ lacrosse team – outside Saugus Town Hall on Monday night, protesting against a plan that would privatize janitorial services, a move that would cost 21 school custodians their jobs. (Saugus Advocate Photos by Mark E. Vogler) In House Dental Plan for $399 (Cleanings, X-Rays, Exams twice a year and 20% OFF Dental work) Schedule your FREE Consultations today “THIS IS OUR TOWN”: Carlos Gonzalez, who has worked 21 years as a custodian for Saugus Public Schools, stands on the picket line outside of Saugus Town Hall on Monday night.

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