Hundreds of thousands of Michigan public school students who once dismissed their school-run cafeteria food as "mystery meat" are now eating their words—along with delicious meals served by private food service companies.
Over 120 Michigan school districts are using privatization—the private management of public services—to save money and improve the quality of their school lunch programs.
One such district is Kalamazoo-area Marcellus schools, which recently turned its money-losing lunch program over to Chartwells, the world's largest food service provider. Chartwells erased the program's $30,000 annual deficit and made it profitable for the first time in 10 years—all while improving the quality of food and service students receive.
Private food service providers have strong incentives to continually improve their services because school districts can terminate their contracts whenever a company fails to meet high customer satisfaction or health standards.
Muskegon schools recently did just that when they switched to Chartwells from another private company. The district now saves over $65,000 annually to spend on textbooks, lab equipment, and other educational materials.
Privatization allows students to enjoy better meals while schools save money to focus on better education.
For the Mackinac Center, this is Joseph Lehman.
The Mackinac Center for Public Policy is a nonprofit research and educational institute that advances the principles of free markets and limited government. Through our research and education programs, we challenge government overreach and advocate for a free-market approach to public policy that frees people to realize their potential and dreams.
Please consider contributing to our work to advance a freer and more prosperous state.