Union: Federal money should end privatization

INDIAN RIVER, Mich. — Inland Lakes Schools is considering hiring a private firm to provide custodial services as a way to save money, but a union representative says that new federal funding makes such a move unnecessary, according to a report by WPBN-TV.

"It's strictly a financial situation where we took bids and the top two companies could save us $80,000 to over $100,000 a year in expenses," Superintendent Mary Jo Dismang told WPBN. The district has five custodians, according to the report.

Michigan Education Association representative Bob Kwiatkoski told WPBN that the district is "jumping the gun" because per pupil funding from the state is $11 more per student this year than last, and because a new state report shows that the district will receive an additional $88,000 to $205,000 in federal funding this year.

Dismang said the privatization savings could be used to hire a teacher and reduce class size, WPBN reported.

"I'm in the business of educating kids, and that has to be my first priority, we're not in the business of finding full time jobs for people," Dismang told the station.

Current custodians could apply for positions with the new company, the report said.

WPBN-TV, "Privatize custodians? It could happen in Inland Lake Schools," Aug. 24, 2010

FURTHER READING: Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "School Privatization Survey 2009," Dec. 7, 2009