ABM: Helping K12 Schools Earn an A+ for Infrastructure and Operational Improvements

David Carpenter, President, Education Group, ABMDavid Carpenter, President, Education Group
The one constant affecting all teachers and students, from attendance to achievement, is their learning environment. Studies continue to link engagement and performance in schools to factors like light levels, indoor air quality and cleanliness, but the fiscal realities facing educators don’t always make prioritizing those physical realities easy.

Working with school districts across the county, ABM has seen this story again and again, and has built their suite of facility services to bridge these widening gaps between funding and the functional needs of classrooms. “Our facility solutions help pump dollars back into the education infrastructure and back into school’s budgets,” says David Carpenter, President of ABM’s Education group.

Recent news about school closures from norovirus outbreaks and continuing debates over state funding formulas only underscore the operational challenges classrooms face. While the company does offer a comprehensive package of facility services, their biggest success stories are driven by a twin engine of custodial programs and energy management.

“Healthy and sustainable, that means effective and affordable,” says Carpenter. ABM looks for ways to control costs while taking the attitude that investment in the environment always pays off. On the business side, they’ve developed partnerships with manufacturers so that every cleaning product brought into a classroom is certified green. They also focus on the people side of the equation there, with training for custodians in supporting students and staff using best practices and newer technologies. “Misters and UV lights help you control infection vectors,” says Carpenter, “but a little teaching as you go can make a difference for students’ well-being.”

With 28 percent in energy savings as their 2016 average, ABM is also helping schools afford upgrades they need by paying for energy-saving equipment with some of the savings they generate.

Bill Maurer, SVP, Technical Solutions, ABMBill Maurer, SVP, Technical Solutions
“There are no upfront costs for school districts,” says Bill Maurer, Senior Vice President of Technical Solutions at ABM. “They don’t have to use up rainy-day funds because the solutions fund themselves.”

A recent success story at a Texas school district highlights the financial advantage of an ABM solution. With a bond recently passed for new school construction, receiving another bond to help this aging school meet crucial needs was unlikely. Using the guaranteed savings produced by an ABM solution that included new lighting, new HVAC, and water conservation measures, the school was able to put improvements in place with no impact to their budget. “Without our solution, the district may have had to wait 15 years for funding relief through another bond,” says Maurer.

Our facility solutions help pump dollars back into the education infrastructure and back into school’s budgets

On the custodial side, ABM stepped in to help a district struggling with 25 percent of custodial positions open. 20- 30 percent of their staffs were always in transition. With the ABM team vetted and trained, the school is now seeing a 5 percent turnover rate. “The time and effort saved by that administration, that’s incredible,” says Carpenter, “and they can turn that around and invest it where they need to, hiring teachers and focusing on achievement.”

Going forward, ABM plans to leverage its own internal educational culture to drive more efficiencies for K12 schools. “We care how our people are taught and trained, we understand that investing in the potential of your people is how you deliver innovation to your partners,” says Carpenter.