School may be out for the summer, but its time for Detroits new reform
board to brush up on ways to cut the districts expenses and improve the quality of
education for its 180,000 students.
Privatizationrelying on the competitive private sector to provide public school
support serviceshas allowed districts across the country to save scarce resources
for textbooks, classroom materials, and after-school programs for struggling students.
For example, Chicagos school district saved $20 million over three years just by
contracting out its bus service to a private firm. Philadelphia schools cut their expenses
by over $29 million in two years by relying on private custodial, food, and other
In Michigan, Pontiacs private bus service allows the district to spend its annual
savings of $500,000 on core educational programs. In fact, roughly one quarter of the
states school districts save money by contracting with private firms to provide food
Detroit can learn the lesson of privatization. By contracting out food, transportation,
custodial, and other support services, the new reform school board can save money and
focus on what it was appointed to do: improve education for Detroit students.
For the Mackinac Center, this is Joseph Lehman.