TROUBLED firm Jarvis are to be axed from their contract to maintain Kirklees schools.
Top councillors are proposing that a new investment company take over the multi-million pound contract.
The moves are intended to secure the long-term future of a contract for the maintenance, caretaking and cleaning of 19 schools in Kirklees and have been agreed by a council Cabinet committee.
Hundreds of cleaners, catering workers and caretakers in Kirklees are employed by support services group Jarvis, but their contracts will be switched to the new service providers.
Jarvis are in serious financial trouble and are heavily in debt.
The proposed move will lead to an end to the council's relationship with Jarvis plc, which was the partner involved in a major multi-million pound construction programme in the schools, and the subsequent maintenance contract.
The schools are those that were transformed under huge investment through the Government's public private partnerships initiative, under which Jarvis plc carried out major construction and refurbishment.
They included Salendine Nook High School, Almondbury High School, Royds Hall High School and Fartown High School.
Under that programme some £50m was invested in 19 schools across Kirklees on a massive programme of improvements to provide better school and education facilities for 13,000 pupils.
Part of the agreement gave Jarvis a long-term contract for maintenance, cleaning and caretaking. This was through the creation of Kirklees Schools Services Ltd (KSSL), a company owned by Jarvis, Barclays Bank, and the council.
The council's Cabinet Committee for Policy and Resources considered an up-to-date report today in the light of the continued financial difficulties facing the Jarvis organisation nationally.
It was told that an investment fund manager which acquired an interest in Jarvis's shareholding in KSSL now wished to take up an option to take over Jarvis's shares in KSSL, and needed the council's consent.
Clr Kath Pinnock, chairman of the committee and leader of the council, said: "In supporting the advice from officers to agree to the transfer of shares the committee's paramount considerations were the best interests of the council, the need to make sure the schools concerned get outstanding works and other works completed, and continue to get the maintenance, cleaning and caretaking services they expect and need.
"It will mean that Jarvis will no longer be a part of KSSL, which will take responsibility for the maintenance contract and associated works."