Transportation services remain the least frequently outsourced service among Michigan public school districts. In 2016, 25.3 percent of districts contracted out bus services to private sector vendors. Between the 2015 and the 2016 surveys, three districts contracted out transportation services and four districts brought them back in house.

This was the first year since 2005 that the survey did not show growth in contracting out for transportation services. Outsourcing in this area increased from 21 districts — one out of 26 — in 2005 to 137 — one out of four — in 2016.

Some districts do not provide regular transportation services. Many of these districts are island school districts, such as Mackinac Island Public Schools and Beaver Island Community School, or one-room school house districts, such as Glenn Public Schools and Verona Mills School. But overall, only 4.6 percent of districts opt not to provide busing.

Mid Peninsula School District estimates that they will save $49,000 for the year through their agreement with R&A Transportation. Montrose Community Schools also reported savings for their district. While East Grand Rapids Public Schools did not experience savings, they reported that the new contract will nullify their need to purchase new buses and will increase the efficiency of their transportation administration.

As with their food service contract, Richmond Community Schools was happy with their leased employees and decided to hire them directly. Flat Rock Community Schools, South Lyon Community Schools and Harbor Springs Public Schools also brought their transportation services back in house.

Graphic 6: Transportation Service Contracting, 2003, 2005-2016

Graphic 6

Graphic 7: Districts With New Transportation Services Contracts

Graphic 7