Clean & Safe Schools for All

The crisis created by COVID-19 exposed the vast inequities in our educational system. One of the most urgent divides is in the cleaning and maintenance of our schools.

School workers who clean and maintain schools have struggled with staffing cuts and impossible workloads for years. Without clear cleaning and staffing standards and consistent funding, school districts have continued to make cuts and undervalue the importance of school cleanliness.

Schools in less affluent areas and students of color are most affected – impacting the learning and safety of our most vulnerable communities.

The pandemic has taught us that we need to do more to ensure that all students and staff have access to safe, sanitized and healthy campuses. We need to do more than just reopen with the same old problems: we need to do better.

Take Action

A Call to Adopt Statewide Cleaning Standards

SEIU Local 99 members are urging legislators and the governor to support the health and safety of all students, staff and the school community by:

Adopting the Association of Physical Plant Administrators (APPA) Tier 1 Standards as the goal for school facility cleanliness.

Ensuring K-14 districts work with frontline workers to establish clear protocols for evaluating the current level of cleanliness in schools and create plans for compliance with cleaning standards.

Implementing green cleaning to reduce levels of chemical hazards and protect students, staff and the environment.

Establishing a dedicated fund for the cleaning and maintenance of schools to ensure there is sufficient staff, supplies and equipment to meet school cleanliness standards.

Structural Inequities in Maintaining Clean, Safe, and Welcoming Schools

Schools have not invested enough in cleaning and maintenance to create a safe and welcoming environment, especially schools attended predominantly by lower-income Black and Brown students.


Schools that don’t meet minimum facility standards.

Source: Public Policy Institute of CA, 2020

Education Worker Voices

  • LAUSD Student Acceleration Days Helping students succeed and offering more opportunities for staff

    The 2022-23 school year at LAUSD will include four additional, optional school days that the district is calling student acceleration days (Oct 19, Dec 7, 2022 and March 15, April 19, 2023). These days are meant to help students catch-up and address some of the learning loss that occurred during the pandemic.  As education [Read more]

    Read Story
  • It’s On! Contract Negotiations Begin with LAUSD

    On April 7, 2022, members on our SEIU Local 99 Bargaining Team began negotiations with LAUSD for our next full contract. Our team will be presenting proposals to ensure clean, safe and supportive schools for all by improving wages, hours, staffing and more.

    Read Story
  • How Surviving Covid-19 Put This Maintenance Worker on a Mission to Set Cleaning Standards for Students and Staff

    Henry Plasencia, a Maintenance Worker at Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District reflects on the day his life was nearly taken by COVID-19 back in March 2020.

    Read Story
  • LAUSD Building Engineers Play A Crucial Role When It Comes to Keeping Classrooms Safe and Cool

    Conrado Guerrero has been a building engineer with LAUSD for 23 years. In his more than two decades on the job, he’s never seen so much attention paid to air filters in schools.

    Read Story
  • ‘Someone’s Gotta Do It’: A Day in the Life of a LAUSD Custodian

    Every weekday during the 2:30 PM to 11:00 PM timeframe, Edna Logan, a Building & Grounds Worker at Esteban Torres High School in East Los Angeles, is responsible for cleaning approximately 18 classrooms, 12 bathrooms, a staff lounge, and four rehearsal studios for the dance, theatre, and music programs. LA Taco spent a day in the life of Edna as part of their "Someone's Gotta Do It" series.

    Read Story
  • Safety and Respect Go Hand-in-Hand for this School Custodian

    Lead Custodian Eric Martin has been providing cleanliness inside and out of classrooms at Santa Monica Malibu Unified (SMMUSD) for almost 24 years and he feels like his crew does not get the credit they deserve.

    Read Story

In the News

To ensure safe schools for all, we need statewide cleaning standards

Covid-19 put a spotlight on how this inconsistent approach and chronic underfunding can seriously impact the health and safety of school communities. In response to the crisis, increased funding for school maintenance was included in the state budget. For Los Angeles Unified, this means the new school year started with nearly 1,000 new custodians. It’s a good step forward, but funding is only temporary and staffing levels could drop again once the money runs out.”

California schools struggle to pay for ventilation upgrades, key to safely reopen campuses

“…research shows that well-ventilated, clean air can lessen the spread of the coronavirus as well as other contaminants, including wildfire smoke, dust and air pollution. Clean air can also improve students’ academic achievement, reduce absenteeism and boost health overall for students and staff, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.”

Why Schools Should Be the Center of a Green New Deal

“A lot of us already had a lot of pollution and crime and all that going on at home in our neighborhoods. It would be a lot better if at least school was safe and comfortable.”

Key Dates

State legislators and the governor will decide on funding for cleaning standards and staffing levels. Here are key dates in the state budget process.

May 14
May 18
May – June
June 15
June 30

May 14

Governor Newsom announces a revised state budget proposal that includes his proposed funding for 2021-22, called the May Revise.

May 18

LAUSD votes on a resolution in support of state funding for school cleaning standards.

May – June

Legislative hearings. State legislators review the budget proposals. It’s our chance to contact legislators and make our voices heard before they vote on a final budget.

June 15

Deadline for CA legislature (Senate and Assembly) to pass the state budget.

June 30

Deadline for Governor Newsom to sign the budget.