LANSING — The Lansing School District in October picked Aramark School Support Services to provide management of its food program. Aramark beat out two other companies for the contract, including SodexhoMagic, of which Earvin “Magic” Johnson — the former Michigan State University and Los Angeles Lakers basketball stand-out — is a partner.

According to the Lansing State Journal, the contract is expected to save “up to $2.25 million over four years by enticing more students to eat at school and making the system more efficient.” Apparently, students and their parents have complained about the district’s in-house program, which lacked the quality and choices offered by a private vendor. According to the Journal, the contract with Aramark means:

  • More than $440,000 in new cafeteria décor, equipment and marketing efforts;

  • A breakfast program for all elementary school pupils at no cost; and

  • A greater choice in food selection.

According to the school privatization summer survey conducted by the Mackinac Center in 2006, 37.8 percent of all 552 districts surveyed reported contracting out for at least one of the three major noninstructional services.

Editor’s Note: This contract was not counted in the 2006 summer privatization survey because the deal was made after its conclusion.