Pennsylvania’s Gov. Mifflin School District is considering adding to its custodial staff, and the worker comes with an impressive resume: It’s been known to save thousands of dollars a year in custodial costs while doing a top-notch job.
But if that’s not enough, its family already has built a reputation for hard work in the Gov. Mifflin district. Relatives include the cafeteria vending machines, the copier in the high school office, and the microwave in the teachers’ lounge.
Its older brother, R2D2, is a movie star—but that’s another story.
That’s right, Gov. Mifflin is thinking of adding a robot to the custodial staff.
Picture an industrial-size Roomba. It’s a dust mop and floor scrubber all in one. And, when it’s programmed with a building’s floor plan, it reportedly will clean the floors on its own.
It’s a tool that school districts like Mifflin might turn to as they trim the size of custodial staffs to save on employee costs.
“With budget cuts and staff being cut, [schools] can essentially do more with less,” said Wendy E. Hughson, marketing director for Intellibot Robotics, the Portland, Ore.-based company that makes the Gen-X Robotic Sweeper/Scrubber.
Gov. Mifflin isn’t set on getting one of the robots yet. Administrators told the school board in January that they would solicit bids for review.
“This is going to be a tough budget year, and we have to look everywhere,” said business manager Mark R. Naylon. “Sometimes you have to spend money to save money.”
The district has the chance to cut two part-time custodian positions through attrition, Naylon said. The robot would help the remaining workers keep up with the cleaning.