Eureka Falling Short

Eureka faces an extreme custodian shortage


Brooklyn Banderman

Head principal Cory Sink was spotted vacuuming classrooms in the language arts hallway, Sept. 14.

Eureka history teacher Bryan Clar recently found himself picking up a custodian backpack vacuum during his plan period to help clean the school. After eating lunch in Elizabeth Schoessel’s classroom, he noticed that the room looked like it hadn’t been cleaned in a while, so he decided to take initiative.

“I think it sets a poor example for the students to be in an area that’s not clean or picked up and it just sets the wrong tone, so anything I can do to help out, I’m in,” Clar said. 

Clar has recently noticed a trend of the school not being as clean as it normally is. From the bathrooms not being restocked with toilet paper or paper towels as regularly to whiteboards and desks not being wiped down daily, the standard is not the same as past years. 

“It’s not that the custodians aren’t working hard, there’s just not enough of them for how much space we have here at this school,” Clar said. 

Clar’s claim would be true. At Eureka High School, there are currently five custodians to clean the school at night, and two for the day. According to Eureka custodian head Christy Bivins, the school normally has 14 custodians working the night shift. 

The four high schools current custodial staffing situation. (Claire Rickles)

“We really need more custodians because we’re not able to wipe down all the desks or clean a lot of things that we’re normally able to. We’re just short the bodies,” Bivins said.

With appropriate staffing, each custodian would have 30,000 square feet of the school to cover per night. Currently, each custodian at Eureka is responsible for 84,000 square feet. Because of the custodian shortage, a cleaning schedule has been created with alternating job duties on a daily basis. Trash and restrooms are done nightly, but wiping down white boards, pencil sharpeners and desks is alternated with vacuuming, dusting and mopping floors. In the event of a custodian absence, such services are not guaranteed. 

Bivins said Eureka’s custodians are working hard to keep the school clean. 

“Right now with lunch cleanup, I’m bringing a couple of my night guys in, and they’re working twelve hour shifts. We’re working them hard,” Bivins said. 

In what has been called an ‘employment crisis,’ Eureka’s custodians appreciate any help that teachers or students can give. 

“I just hope that everyone will pick up after themselves,” Clar said. “If we did that, the place would be a lot cleaner.”