• 44.6 percent of districts (246 out of 551) contract out for food, custodial or transportation services.
  • 29 food, custodial or transportation services were outsourced this year.
  • Eight districts insourced services this year.
  • New contracts alone were estimated to save taxpayers $6.9 million statewide.

Privatization continues to increase this year as 246 districts contracted out for food, custodial or transportation services. Contracting has increased 44 percent since 2001 and displays a steady trend, growing an average of 6.3 percent each year.

Graphic 1: Outsourcing by Michigan School Districts

Graphic 1: Outsourcing by Michigan School Districts - click to enlarge

Fifty districts began new support service contracts. These were evenly split between districts that already contracted out a service and districts that are new to support service contracting.

One district, Bentley Community Schools, contracted out for all three services since the 2009 survey. It is using an employee leasing firm to employ its substitute bus drivers and to replace any of its current drivers who end their service with the district. It also began using an employee leasing firm to provide custodians and selected a private food service manager.

Districts reported that the new contracts are expected to save $16.7 million, though not all districts were able to provide quality figures and were thus excluded from savings calculations. Details on expected savings from contracting out are included in the following sections.