Custodial contracting explored in Algonac schools, transportation privatization rejected

ALGONAC — Facing expiring collective bargaining agreements for custodial and transportation services, Algonac Community Schools considered privatizing them to save between $150,000 and $200,000 annually. Algonac asked private vendors to bid on transportation provision, but ultimately accepted union concessions amounting to about $20,000, according to The (New Baltimore) Voice.

The union's concessions included cutting allowable sick days, cutting paid holidays and changing overtime rules. "The concessions they made were difficult but we appreciate them," said Superintendent Michael Sharrow.

Bus drivers for the district did not bargain to receive health benefits, as was the case in many districts in the state. The district, however, provides 16.94 percent of its payroll to the school pension fund. Contracting typically switches the employees from pension funds to defined-contribution retirement plans.

School administrators have discussed concessions with the custodial union, but have not sought contracting bids for that service.

References: "Algonac schools considers privatization for bus drivers, custodians," The (New Baltimore) Voice, June 31, 2009

"Algonac schools bus drivers keep jobs," The (New Baltimore) Voice, Aug. 5, 2009