OTTAWA LAKE, Mich. - Four cafeteria workers employed by Whiteford Agricultural Schools in Monroe County will be transferred to the company that manages the district's food services, but a union official predicted a lawsuit over the move, according to The Toledo Blade.

The district budget calls for $6.5 million in spending in 2009-2010, but only $5.9 million in revenue, The Blade reported. The district will close the gap by laying off staff, privatizing the food service workers and spending down fund equity.

"All Michigan schools are in the same boat," said Herb Gabehart, interim superintendent of the 740-student district, according to The Blade.

Mike Baumann, a Michigan Education Association representative, said the decision breaks a promise made to food service employees in 2006 which guaranteed them employment until they quit or retired, The Blade reported. He said a grievance and lawsuit are likely.

The transfer of the cafeteria workers to Sodexo will affect their retirement plan, according to The Blade.

The Toledo Blade, "Whiteford Agricultural district trims staff, cuts hours," June 17, 2009

Michigan Education Report, "Privatization numbers up again," Aug. 19, 2008