HOWELL — The Hartland Consolidated Schools Board of Education has voted to privatize janitorial services, expecting to save at least $600,000 in fiscal year 2007.

Officials in Hartland issued a "request for proposal" earlier in the year, asking private firms to bid on the service. As of March 30 the district had received and reviewed four offers. At the May 8 board meeting, district officials refused a last-minute offer of concessions worth $250,000 from the union representing district custodians to keep the work in-house.

As has been the case in Michigan school districts all spring, the meeting drew a large crowd to witness the debate and ensuing vote on whether to privatize. According to The Detroit News, the total savings expected on the five-year outsourcing deal is $5 million. The contract was awarded to Grand Rapids Business Services.

The board is also considering a host of other cuts to close a projected $1.5 million fiscal 2007 budget deficit.