A growing number of school districts are seeking competitive bids on noninstructional services from private contractors as a means to save money. For example, Ypsilanti is looking into a plan that might save about $700,000 — $180 per pupil — by contracting out custodial labor.
Since giving the work to private contractors threatens their ability to collect dues, government employee unions oppose these attempts, and typically use empty scare tactics to pressure local school boards. But one Teamsters union is taking the abuse to a whole new level.
The Brandon board of education is another looking to save money, in this case by contracting out for transportation. In response, the Teamsters union that represents bus drivers is leading a campaign to encourage students to play hooky next fall on “count day” if the board follows through. A local newspaper has photos of students wearing shirts that read: “Count day is coming. Count me out.”
Funding for school districts is primarily determined by how many students show up for school on two annual count days. Thus, the union aims to hit this district where it hurts the most, in their budget.
The tactic also exposes the bad faith of a union that places its own dues collections ahead of the best interests of students and their families, not to mention the rest of the community — including taxpayers.
While it decides, the Brandon school board should keep in mind that the district exists to provide an education for students, not union jobs for adults.