Between May 23 and July 12, we contacted Michigan’s 540 school districts by phone and followed up by email if necessary. We sent Freedom of Information Act requests only to schools that were difficult to contact or that requested them specifically.

We asked school officials whether or not they outsourced any part of their food, custodial or transportation services. If they did, we requested the name of these contractors in order to track and verify changes between this year’s and last year’s results. We also asked them about their satisfaction with the service they had received from these companies.

We counted a district as contracting out if they had at least one regular outsourced worker in the area in question, including leased employees. While we did not count special education transportation in the survey, we did include districts that contracted out busing for their sport programs.