We received responses from all 539 public school districts in Michigan between May 7 and August 3. Some districts wanted us to submit FOIA requests, which we did.
The survey asked districts whether they contract out food, custodial or transportation services to private sector vendors. We compared the responses to those of previous years. If the district contracted out for a service, we asked whether it was satisfied with the contractors.
We considered a district to contract out only if a private vendor provided the regular part of a particular service. If, for example, a district cleaned its buildings with its own employees but contracted out for lawn mowing services, we did not include it in the tally. If a district contracted out their food service to another district, it would not be considered as privatizing the service, since the contractor would be another government unit. Due to the unique qualities of special education, we did not include it or transportation for it in the survey.
This is the 16th instance of the survey, which was performed in 2001, 2003 and every year since 2005.