• 9.3 percent of districts (51 out of 551) contract out for transportation services.
  • Thirteen districts began contracting out the services.
  • Contracting out for transportation services is expected to yield $1.8 million in savings in the first year.

While transportation is the least contracted-out service, privatization is growing considerably. Since 2003 transportation service contracting more than doubled (growing 139 percent), though less than 10 percent of districts contract out for this service.

With 13 districts new to contracting out, transportation experienced 27.5 percent growth over last year’s survey. The savings estimates for districts new to transportation privatization range from $10,000 to $810,436 and are listed in Graphic 7.

Graphic 6: Districts Contracting Transportation Service

Graphic 4: Districts Contracting Transportation Service - click to enlarge

The largest gain in transportation contracting came from districts in Houghton County. Five of these Upper Peninsula districts began using contractors to provide busing services to the districts’ students. The districts, Portage Township Schools, Tamarack City Schools, Calumet/Laurium/Keweenaw Public Schools, Adams Township Schools and Chassell Township Schools reported a combined savings figure of $334,136, approximately $87 per pupil.

Chassell Township Schools did not provide documents on cost comparison between in-house and contractor costs. However, it reported that its contractor will purchase the district’s aging bus fleet, which was expected to require significant updates. The district will lease the buses for its use. Not all districts choose to sell their fleets to contractors, though, and opt only for transportation management or simply leasing employees.

On June 28 the Harbor Springs Public Schools board of education voted unanimously to approve a third-party contract with METS for its transportation supervisor. The district did not provide savings documentation. 

Graphic 7 

Districts new to transportation contracting

Savings

Oak Park School District

$810,436

Garden City Public Schools

$375,000

Houghton-Portage Townships Schools

$156,403

Adams Township School District

$141,854

Lakeview Community Schools

$136,000

Holton Public Schools

$104,617

East Jackson Community Schools

$29,125

Calumet/Laurium/Keweenaw Public Schools

$25,879

Dollar Bay-Tamarack City Schools

$10,000

Chassell Township Schools

Insufficient documentation

Bentley Community Schools

Insufficient documentation

Au Gres-Sims School District

Insufficient documentation

Harbor Springs Public Schools

Insufficient documentation