FARMINGTON, Mich. — Farmington Public Schools trustees voted 5-2 to accept concessionary contracts from unionized support staff rather than outsource non-instructional services, according to the (Farmington) Observer & Eccentric.

The contracts, which have yet to be approved by the union members, would reduce spending by about $2.3 million over three years, while privatizing custodial and transportation services would save an estimated $4 million over that time, the Observer & Eccentric reported.

District officials said that decreased revenue and “soaring health and retirement costs” were the motive to look for cost savings in support services, according to the report.

The proposed concessions include wage decreases, higher employee contributions to health benefit costs, custodial workday adjustments, and changes in vacation, overtime and sick day accrual, among others, according to the Observer & Eccentric.

“As I sit here tonight ... my feeling is that the custodial and transportation have done their part,” Trustee Tim Devine said in voting for the contracts, the Observer & Eccentric reported.

Board member Priscilla Brouillette, who voted against accepting the contracts, cited the increasing cost of public employee pensions as the reason for her vote, the Observer & Eccentric reported.

If union members do not ratify the contracts by May 17, district leaders will move forward to hire the private companies, according to the Observer & Eccentric.

(Farmington) Observer & Eccentric, “Farmington Public Schools won’t outsource busing, custodial,” May 12, 2011

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “Michigan Schools Contract Out More Than Ever,” Sept. 10, 2010