Contracting Non-Instructional Services Can Help Students

Op-ed published in Chicago Daily Herald

Michigan’s success in contracting non-instructional services to keep money in the classroom was highlighted in a recent op-ed arguing the benefits of allowing districts to use private companies for janitorial, busing and food services.

The Chicago Daily Herald op-ed, co-authored by Michael LaFaive, director of the Morey Fiscal Policy Initiative at the Mackinac Center, and Kristina Rasmussen, executive vice president of the Illinois Policy Institute, explains why an Illinois law that makes it difficult for schools to use contractors for non-instructional services hurts children:

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Michigan, for example, has more than 500 school districts. Thirty-one percent of school districts contracted out for busing, janitorial or food service in 2001. But it's worked so well that today that number is above 70 percent. …

Surveys completed in four other states last year found similar acceptance of this trend. School districts estimated their savings from competitive contracting, which ran from $34 per student for food contracts to $110 per student for busing and $191 per student for custodial services.

Who would turn down another $191 per student in these tough economic times? Probably no one, which is why we need to put these savings back on the table.

Contractors, who specialize in offering their service, can also provide better quality, LaFaive and Rasmussen said.

Read the full op-ed in the Daily Herald.


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