One short: The challenge for the HHS custodians


Haley Barth, Emersyn Armstrong, and Maddie Elkins

Students sitting at the clean lunch tables eating lunch.

The smell of cleaner, the mop on the floor, the Highlands High School custodians clean everywhere. 

Not many people know that HHSschool is short one custodian, however, HHS has been impacted a lot behind scenes that many people do not notice. Now, when the custodial staff has work to do they now have more to do since they are down one custodian. 

“The big reason is financial. Starting pay is not where it needs to be today and with gas prices now it’s kind of hard to find someone with what the pay is,” said HHS Custodial Supervisor Guy Ponzer. 

The custodial staff works hard every day, and they want to know how the students can help them out to make their job easier. 

“I retired from Kenton County and when I came here to be facility supervisor the kids have really helped me a lot. Really just tell me about keeping the bathrooms clean and the school clean,” said Ponzer. 

The school has been impacted a lot by the employees. One way it’s impacted the school is how much more the custodians have to do when cleaning. 

Principal John Darnell said, “When our 2nd shift comes in, they are responsible for cleaning everything.  Every classroom, every bathroom, every stairwell, they empty every trash can…all of it. Being short a custodian means our 2nd shift employees have to cover an extra 20% of the work every single night.” 

FTIS Director of Operations Jerry Wissman hires the custodians. According to Wissman, the reason that people aren’t signing up to be a custodian is because of the pay, and how the school doesn’t compete with big companies like Amazon. 

“Superintendent Robinson had our Human Resources Coordinator conduct some research and found that we were, on average, the second-highest paying school district for similar positions in the area,” said Wissman.

At the moment, the school is looking for more custodians. They try to interact as much as they can with the Central Office and get more custodians for the job. 

“We are trying to actively engage our Human Resources Coordinator and other Central Office Staff members in the recruitment and hiring process,” said Wissman.

The school has been monitoring the job and who has been signing up.

“We have been monitoring the district’s hiring platform as well as posting these jobs on the Indeed Internet platform and when individuals apply we have been contacting them and actively bringing them in for interviews and “recruitment” sessions,” said Wissman. 

Wissman has been in contact with a few individuals but those people want first shift and only second shift is available. There is another meeting to meet with candidates next week to hopefully get another custodian. 

Darnell is appreciative of everything that the custodians have done. 

  “So while my day hasn’t changed immensely because of this, our custodians are doing overtime to make sure the building is presentable to students and our community.”