Cleaner cops huge fine over dirty schools
A cleaning contractor has been fined $180,000 as education minister James Merlino threatens possible further action if the school cleaning fiasco continues.
Mr Merlino confirmed cleaning company Spotless had been hit with the massive penalty in the past month for "not meeting our rigorous standards".
"We will continue applying penalties until our cleaning standards are met," he said.
"This could be in the order of hundreds of thousands dollars if required."
No other cleaning contractors have received a fine.
The Herald Sun understands the Department of Education is seriously considering terminating its agreement with Spotless in the new year following a series of complaints from schools about dirty campuses.
The threats come after the Andrews Government overhauled school cleaning contracts to rid problems of underpayment of workers.
However, schools have since complained of grubby conditions with some having their cleaning hours cut back.
Earlier this month, the Herald Sun confirmed that Livingstone Primary School in Vermont South had budgeted $36,000 for extra cleaning over 18 months to re-sanitise a campus that should already be clean.
"The cleanliness is just disgusting," Livingstone Primary's council president Andrew Freeman earlier said.
"Almost to the day the Government cancelled the contracts, the school has been an absolute disgrace."
Glendal Primary in Glen Waverley was recently forced to ban 150 students from using their toilets because they were deemed too filthy.
Principal Deborah Grossek said since exposing the issues her school faced, an inspection and audit had been completed and work was being done to ensure the campus was cleaned to an acceptable standard.
Mr Merlino said there was a "small number of schools where this continues to be a problem and I want to assure schools we will not accept this".
"Let me be very clear: the department will not hesitate to terminate the agreement with any company that fails to meet our cleaning standard," he said.
The Deputy Premier said there would also be a new arrangement from term one next year where less frequently used areas of campuses would be cleaned more regularly at no added cost to schools.
The contract cleaners' overhaul came in July after a Herald Sun investigation found more than four-in-five Victorian school cleaners were potentially being underpaid.
The number of contracts was reduced from 100 to eight when the Department took control from schools.
When contacted for comment, a Spotless spokeswoman referred the Herald Sun to the Department of Education.