By: Christine Souders
They're not teachers, but they play a vital role at Davenport schools, and their jobs could be on the chopping block.
In recent public forums, parents and teachers are standing up for behind the scenes employees, as Davenport schools work to cut $3 million dollars from the budget.
The positions potentially in harms way are custodians, nurses, and other specialized employees.
One Davenport school janitor we talked to said if the district chooses to outsource, he could lose his job of almost 30 years.
Every morning, Custodian David Stage preps Washington Elementary three hours before the bell rings, "My main concern here is to make it safe and secured for the kids."
Stage said the students know him on a first name basis, at times he even takes a break from cleaning to show some of the little guys how to tie their shoes.
"I treat them like my own because I feel like they are my own," said Stage.
But that one on one attention could change, if the school district decides to get rid of long time employees for minimum wage workers from an outside business.
"A lot of times when you make less money, you take less pride in your work, and i wouldn't want to go that route," said Jeff Hankins who is a Washington Elementary Parent of Two.
We talked to another parent who said she fears if they did outsource those jobs, her first grader would be around strangers at school.
"We know who we're working with, who's around our children, and we feel safe with what we have now," said Parent Karen Cooney.
And Stage said for him, being the janitor at Washington isn't all about the paycheck, but the students who go there.
"I'd take a bullet for anyone of these guys, you're not going to get that from a outsource."
School leaders said they would first look into doing a study to see if an outside company would be cost effective.
Two more public forums will be held in the upcoming weeks, including one Wednesday night at Walcott Elementary to hear input from parents and teachers.