Custodial work was the top growth area of school support service privatization in the Center survey. Statewide, 14.3 percent of districts outsource for custodial services. The custodial contracting rate increased by 25.2 percent (16 districts) over last year’s total. In 2006, 63 districts were contracting for custodial services, and this privatization rate was up an impressive 26.2 percent (13 districts) from 2005.

Graphic 7 - click to enlarge

The following 17 new districts are entirely new to custodial service contracting in the Mackinac Center survey.

Graphic 8

Conventional Michigan School Districts New to the Annual Survey's List of Districts Contracting for Custodial Services

District

County

Big Bay de Noc Schools

Delta

Buchanan Community Schools

Berrien

Coldwater Community Schools

Branch

Dryden Community Schools

Lapeer

Forest Area Community Schools

Kalkaska

Gwinn Area Community Schools

Marquette

Harbor Beach Community Schools

Huron

Holly Area Schools

Oakland

Kent City Community Schools

Kent

Lakeshore Public Schools

Berrien

Lakeview Community Schools

Montcalm

L’Anse Area Schools

Baraga

Midland Public Schools

Midland

Napoleon Community Schools

Jackson

Portage Public Schools

Kalamazoo

Whitehall District Schools

Muskegon

Every survey uncovers interesting anecdotes and evidence about competitive contracting in the state. For instance, in the Coldwater Community Schools the superintendent showed the Mackinac Center’s 2006 Michigan map of districts that have contracted to her school board as evidence that school support service privatization is neither a unique nor rare concept.[9] She also instilled courage in her colleagues with inspiring quotes from famous leaders and by reminding them of the savings that could be generated through privatization for reinvestment in the classroom.

Following are just three examples of districts that have recently outsourced custodial services, along with estimated savings:

  • Coldwater Community Schools privatized its custodial services this year and expects to save $1.1 million over the next three years, $104 per pupil per year, which will be spent on new technologies for the classroom.[10]
  • In the Upper Peninsula, the Gwinn Area Community Schools outsourced its custodial services, expecting to save $175,000 annually, or $123 per pupil per year.[11]
  • Midland Public Schools is anticipating savings of $2.6 million over three years, or $90 per pupil per year, from its new custodial contract with a private vendor.[12]