FARWELL —Members of the district school board in this Clare County community recently heard a presentation from a private company about contracting for custodial services. In early May, two representatives from Aramark Company of Ohio told the Farwell board that if it chooses to contract with Aramark, it need not be overly concerned about loss of jobs.

"Our company can provide an on-site director to work with the existing staff," said Aramark’s David Palmer. Aside from the matter of employees, the company spokesmen suggested contracting for custodial services could help the board deal with problems related to facility needs. "There is equipment that will need to be replaced. Our services offer a wide range of options, including equipment," said Palmer.

Privatization of school support services–including transportation, food service and custodial work–is growing rapidly across the United States. Numerous studies show significant cost savings, due to the greater efficiency and quality improvements that competition fosters. Michigan school districts are employing privatization at an increasing rate, ever since the legislature passed a law in early 1994 giving schools new freedom to explore and implement the option.