MIDLAND, Mich. — More than half of Michigan school districts now use private vendors to provide food, custodial or transportation services, according to the Mackinac Center for Public Policy’s 2011 school privatization survey.
The survey found that 295 of the state’s 550 local school districts — 53.6 percent — contract for at least one of these support services.
“In the past decade, privatization of non-instructional services has moved from controversy to consensus,” said James Hohman, assistant director of fiscal policy at the Mackinac Center.
According to the annual survey, school support services contracting in Michigan has grown from 31 percent in 2001. Districts newly privatized 57 major support services this year.
Statewide, transportation contracting grew the fastest, rising 26.6 percent from last year and now occurring in 67 districts. Now, 12.2 percent of school districts use privatized bus services — nearly triple the 2006 rate of 4.4 percent. According to the Mackinac Center, the Woodhaven-Brownstown School District expects to save $331,200 in the first year by contracting its busing.
Custodial service contracting grew the most, with 29 districts beginning to use private-sector vendors to clean and maintain schools.
The survey was conducted from May 25 to Aug. 4 and received responses from all 550 local public school districts. For more details, go here.