In 2007, 4.3 percent of respondents (24 districts) were contracting for the management or operation of their transportation systems with private vendors (see Graphic 9). This tally does not include special education busing.

Graphic 9

Graphic 9 - click to enlarge

Graphic 9 represents data acquired over the course of surveys since 2003. It should be noted that the Center has revised its final bus privatization tallies for 2003, 2005 and 2006. In the course of conducting this year’s survey, the Mackinac Center discovered that several districts that were counted as having contracted for busing services in past years were doing so with another government entity. The Center has since removed these districts from the total of those previously recognized as having privatized this service, which changed the figures modestly. There were a total of three new districts that contracted for transportation services since last year’s survey was completed (see Graphic 10). One district brought the service back in-house.

Graphic 10

Districts New to the Annual Survey's List of Districts Contracting for Transportation Services

District

County

Dryden Community Schools

Lapeer

Inkster Public Schools

Wayne

Saranac Community Schools

Ionia

Between 2005 and 2007 there has been a 20.0 percent increase in the number of school districts contracting for busing services statewide. That increase may sound dramatic, but it must be juxtaposed against the relatively small number of contracts between districts and private vendors for busing services. Compared to states in the East, Michigan does very little pupil transportation contracting. This suggests that it is an area ripe for growth.