Who\'s Cleaning Up?
Special Report: Who's Cleaning Up?
"Custodians are making more money than the teachers?" a Brockton parent asked.
That's what 7news found. We checked school earning reports from several communities and discovered top-earning janitors taking home a lot more than most teachers.
"That doesn't seem right," a Cambridge parent said.
In Cambridge - the two highest paid janitors made $112,000 and $107,000 last year.
Ninety-nine percent of the city's full time teachers make less.
"It's an outrage!" one parent said.
In Boston - the top earning janitor made $89,000 last year.
77% of the city's full-time teachers took home less.
"I think the world of teachers and I think they should be paid at a much higher level than somebody who's doing custodial work," a Boston taxpayer said.
No one's disputing custodians do an important job and schools couldn't run well without them. But some question why a position that doesn't require more than a high school diploma would have such a relatively high pay check.
We found 5 communities where the top paid custodians made more than the majority of teachers.
Last year, Worcester's two top-earning janitors each made more than 96% of that city's teachers.
Brockton's top two custodians each made more than 93% of teachers there.
And in Brookline, the top-earning janitor made 96-thousand dollars. Ninety-eight percent of Brookline teachers made less money.
"It's not fair!" a Brookline parent said.
"The public does have the right to be concerned that the rates of compensation can be high," Glenn Koocher of the Massachusetts Association of School Committees said. He added that overtime pushes custodian salaries through the roof.
"There's a considerable amount of custodial overtime that's paid to the people that do the work in school districts. Some of it's unavoidable," Koocher said.
Some cities - like Brockton - say they're actually saving money by having less janitors and paying them lots of overtime.
"You're coming out better than if you hired another employee to do the work because you're not paying the additional costs of the benefit plan they're entitled to," Aldo Petronio of Brockton Public Schools said.
Other officials point out that janitors don't have the summer off - typically working 52-weeks each year. And they explain that some of the overtime is paid by groups who rent out space in the schools.
7 news contacted several custodian unions for comment along with local and state teachers' unions - but no one would speak with us about this story.
(Copyright (c) 2011 Sunbeam Television. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)