• 12.2 percent of districts (67 out of 550) contract out for transportation services.
  • 15 districts began contracting the service this year.
  • Six of these districts provided dollar-figure savings estimates; these contracts are estimated to save Michigan taxpayers $4,416,200 per year.

Graphic 6: Districts Contracting Transportation Service

Graphic 6: Districts Contracting Transportation Service  - click to enlarge

Transportation contracting continues to be the fastest growing area of support- service privatization, increasing this year by 26.6 percent, though it is starting from a smaller base. The number of contracted transportation services grew nearly triple in just the past five years.

Woodhaven-Brownstown’s attempt to privatize bus drivers was also delayed by a big-labor lawsuit, but the school board stood strong and won the case. The resulting contract with First Student is expected to save the district $331,200 in its first year.

The largest amount of savings from a single new contract came from Plymouth-Canton Community Schools, which hired Michigan Educational Transportation Services. The district expects to save $3 million over previous in-house costs in the first year of the contract, and future years are projected to save an additional $600,000 once transition costs are paid in the first year. The first year’s savings translate to an effective $157 per-pupil funding increase.

Reeths-Puffer Public Schools contracted for its bus drivers through
METS beginning in the 2010-2011 school year, and savings were estimated at $200,000, or roughly $51 per pupil.

Ellsworth Community Schools is now privatizing its bus drivers through attrition with PCMI. As in-house drivers retire, the district will hire privatized workers to fill their positions. The district saves roughly 25 percent on each privatized employee, largely on retirement and benefits.

Graphic 7

Districts new to transportation contracting


Plymouth-Canton Community Schools


Northville Public Schools


Crestwood School District


Woodhaven-Brownstown School District


Reeths-Puffer Public Schools


Freeland Community Schools


Ellsworth Community Schools


Lamphere Schools


Fulton Schools


Ubly Community Schools


Croswell-Lexington School District


Highland Park Public Schools


Lake Linden-Hubbell Schools


Onekama Consolidated Schools


Taylor School District


*Denotes insufficient documentation