DETROIT-Detroit Public Schools has hired Aramark-Gourmet, a private business, to handle the management of its food services. The plan to outsource managers will affect 97 workers, including food service supervisors, secretaries, and accountants. The district plans to sign a one-year, $26-million contract that can be renewed for four years. The 97 employees affected by the deal can continue to work for the Detroit schools if they apply with Aramark-Gourmet.

Union officials are angry about the deal, despite the fact that the district stopped far short of privatizing all food service. They have submitted their own proposal, outlining how they could run the department more effectively. However, the school's chief executive Kenneth Burnley believes the Aramark-Gourmet deal is better for the schools.

Burnley and the Detroit schools have recently outsourced other services as well. United Parcel Service drivers have been hired to deliver standardized tests, while a $7-million contract with various other private companies has been signed to perform landscaping, lawn mowing, weed-control, and trash pick-up duties at the school.

The Aramak-Gourmet deal is expected to stem the tide of food service revenue losses due to large numbers of students leaving the district. Burnley has expressed his hope that the food service department will become self-sufficient within the next few years.