School contracting for custodial services is even harder to measure than contracting for transportation. I am not aware of a representative nationwide survey of custodial services contracting among public school districts published since the 2001 American School & University survey discussed above.
Therefore, we are left with a single national survey and several state-specific surveys to gauge just how frequently conventional public school districts use contractors in providing custodial work:
The American School & University magazine’s national sample of public school districts in 2001 found that just over 8 percent of respondents contracted with a private firm for custodial work.
In 2006 in Michigan, the Mackinac Center found that 11.4 percent of the state’s conventional public school districts reported contracting for custodial services, an increase of 2.4 percentage points from the previous year.
A 2000 doctoral dissertation by Barry D. Yost detailed the outcome of his 1999-2000 school year survey of Virginia school districts. In Yost’s survey, 9.4 percent of the responding districts reported contracting for custodial services.[xxiii] Yost also noted that about 53 percent of respondents said they realized “moderate” to “considerable” savings from contracting.
In Arizona, the Reason Foundation’s 2007 spring survey found that 13.0 percent of conventional school districts contract for custodial services.
In Florida, the Reason Foundation’s 2007 spring survey found that 11 of 60 responding districts (18 percent) contract for custodial services.
[xxiii] The survey had a response rate of 64.4 percent. Yost, “Privatization of Educational Services by Contractual Agreement in Virginia Public Schools,” 50.