Mackinac Center Survey:
Michigan School Privatization Increases

Custodial Contracting Rate Up 26 Percent

For Immediate Release

Michael D. LaFaive, Director of Fiscal Policy
Phone: 989-631-0900 or 989-430-8669

MIDLAND — The Mackinac Center for Public Policy today released new data showing that privatization of janitorial, food and busing services expanded by 6 percent in the 550 (of 552) Michigan public school districts surveyed this summer. The details of the survey were released in an online essay entitled, "Survey 2006: School Outsourcing Continues to Grow."

"Normally, the Center conducts its surveys biennially," said Michael D. LaFaive, director of the Center’s Morey Fiscal Policy Initiative. "We felt compelled, however, to update our 2005 numbers this year due to expanded interest in school privatization."

According to the essay, 208 school districts in the state contract out for at least one of the three primary noninstructional services. This is up from a revised 197 districts in 2005. Only five districts brought services back in-house since the conclusion of last year’s survey. For the second year in a row, janitorial contracting grew the most — a 26 percent increase.

"As district officials continue to grapple with shortfalls they increasingly turn to privatization to save money," LaFaive said. "Our survey suggests they’re happy with the services they get, too."