Elysian Heights parents want to know who is going to clean up the “protein events”

School kids can be a messy lot, leaving a trail of scuff marks, paper, milk cartons and other debris across classrooms, bathrooms and playgrounds. That is why a group of parents and supporters of Elysian Heights Elementary have voiced concern about a school district wide program they fear will lead to a dirty and unsafe campus. On Thursday afternoon, Elysian Heights and Echo Park parents were collecting signatures on a petition against an L.A. Unified program called Team Cleaning, which is shifting some daytime custodial and maintenance staff  into a roving band of cleaners that will work after the school day is over.  The idea is to increase efficiency in the wake of budget cuts that has left the district with fewer cleaning crews at the same time it has added more than 10 million square feet of new schools. But some parents and school staff worry that  Team Cleaning will do little to improve efficiency and only lead to delays in making repairs, cleaning up spills and dealing with “protein events,” which, according to one Elysian Heights parent, is L.A. Unified speak for a kid throwing up.

Elysian Heights parents say the Team Cleaning concept at their school will mean the replacement of the campus’ full time plant manager with a two-hour a day restroom attendant.  A letter distributed by resident Shirley Moyers on behalf of the Friends of Elysian Heights Elementary and Parent Center Volunteers said:

“If implemented, “team cleaning” would have a serious, negative effect on our campus.  Our Plant Manager is responsible for the cleanliness of our school, keeping our green spaces healthy, opening and closing the school, setting up for all of the school programs and festivals, communicating with the district to get things fixed when they are broken – water fountains, air conditioning, bungalow removal to name a few over the past months.  As you might imagine it takes repeated calling and persistence to make sure repairs and updates are performed by the district in a safe and timely manner.”

The Eastsider contacted the office of Dale Vigil, Superintendent of L.A. Unified Local District 4, which included Elysian Heights, for comment.

Photo by Dan/Flickr/Creative Commons


  1. As a parent of a child who will go here in a few years, this seriously bums me out. I attended state school in NY during a budget crisis and although it seems minor, it was very defeating to everyone there to go to school amid unmaintained buildings and grounds. Lights didn’t get replaced. Bathrooms went uncleaned for extended periods. Grounds weren’t kept up. Locks on doors went unfixed. I really do believe that this kind of environment stuff affects learning.
    I’ve always thought this school is such a quaint spot – clean, kept up. It’s a real shame that this could change things. I get saving a buck, I really do, but at some point it has to stop…

  2. @boombala
    Join our fight. We will have petitions all over the neighborhood starting next week. There are many schools involved in this fight. The program has been started in other schools and it is a total failure.

  3. Bleh! Much of the time, the policies of the LAUSD are protein events in themselves.

  4. From what I gather, it’s coming from the Facilities Dept. at LAUSD, not the educational side….our Local Superintendent’s office and the Director’s there (made up of of former principals) very much seem to understand in this case. But yes, that often is true…

  5. This is an outrage and I am very disappointed with our School budgeting system! The money that we get should be used to save our Plant Managers position to keep our school healthy and clean. I have two children who attend Elysian Heights Elementary and I am considering taking my children out of that school due to this decision! I know a lot of parents who feel the same way and if they want to keep the schools budget with the attendees of the students, they might want to reconsider their decision!

  6. My sentiments exactly. I cried when I found out that our wonderful plant manager, Eric at Clifford St. Elementary, mentioned to me that he, along with other PM’s at other schools in the area, were going to get pink slipped as of Dec 1 – and he is the only plant manager we have at Clifford! He is a great guy, nice and trustworthy and has committed countless unpaid hours to the betterment of Clifford. Eric even volunteered to paint the Blue Ribbon mural on the side of the school facing Glendale. Just look on the Eastsider archives regarding Clifford’s Blue Ribbon and you’ll see him! They say it’s “Team Cleaning,” I ask them, what team are they on?

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