Districts frequently request in the RFP that potential contractors give first consideration to existing district employees when hiring new people to provide the privatized service. This preference not only benefits the workers, who will naturally be uneasy about the loss of their current jobs, but the company itself. Indeed, most companies are eager to tap the institutional knowledge the current workers will bring with them. In Midland, Chartwells School Dining is actually scheduled to host a job fair for displaced employees and will bus those interested to a nearby district for a tour of a Chartwells-run cafeteria.

At the same time, the district should not mandate that the contractor hire school district personnel. Management flexibility is one of the attributes that allow a private contractor to save money in the first place, and the district will put its cost savings and service quality at risk if it removes the contractor’s ability to manage personnel independently.