Farmington Public Schools is expected to save $1.4 million this year after privatizing its custodial services for the first time. The district is one of several public school districts that have recently turned to privatizing noninstructional services, joining others that have used the practice for years. Farmington estimates the district will save $4.2 million over three years because of the move. The district reported its findings to the Mackinac Center for Public Policy for its “Michigan School Privatization Survey 2016.” … In recent years, public school districts in Michigan have increasingly contracted out at least one of three noninstructional services covered by the report — food, custodial, or transportation. Over 70 percent of districts in the state have contracted out for at least one the three services in the last year, a slight increase from 69.7 percent in 2015. A private vendor is now used in 379 of 541 districts in the state for at least one of the three services. In 2001, the first year the survey was conducted, only 31 percent of districts used private contracts for one or more of these services. … The survey was based on telephone interviews with districts, which were conducted between May 11 and June 30, 2016. The Mackinac Center submitted Freedom of Information Act requests to districts that asked for them, the study says. The Center has had a perfect response rate on the survey since 2005. The survey also probed for districts’ satisfaction with their private contractors. Nearly all districts, or 89 percent, said they were satisfied. Less than 3 percent were unsatisfied. … The districts that privatized custodial services this year include Farmington Public Schools, Clawson Public Schools and North Huron Schools. Districts with newly privatized food services are the Calumet-Laurium-Keweenaw School District, Carson City-Crystal Area Schools and Ellsworth Community Schools. Districts with newly privatized transportation services are East Grand Rapids Public Schools, Montrose Community Schools, and Mid Peninsula School District. …
Number of Michigan Schools Privatizing Services Grows to 70 Percent
Source: James M. Hohman and Jonathan Moy, Mackinac Center for Public Policy, August 17, 2015
There are more Michigan public schools contracting out food, custodial or transportation services than ever, according to the Mackinac Center’s latest survey of school districts. This year, 70.8 percent of school districts use private-sector vendors to clean buildings, get kids to school, or cook and serve school meals. This is up from 66.6 percent the previous year. … The biggest change has been in custodial services. Our 2003 survey found only 34 districts contracted out this service. In 2015, 283 of Michigan’s 542 districts contracted out these services. School food services are highly-regulated enterprises and the federal government subsidizes meals for many children. There are a few companies that have specialized in helping districts provide this service. In 2003, 27.3 percent of districts contracted out these services. This proportion increased to 42.8 percent in 2015. … There is a growing number of school districts that use private-sector contractors to bus students to and from schools. There were 18 districts that began new transportation contracts between the 2014 survey and the 2015 survey and now 144 of Michigan’s 542 districts (26.6 percent) contract out this service.
2014 Michigan School Privatization Survey
Source: James M. Hohman and Zachary Woodman, Mackinac Center for Public Policy, ISBN: 978-1-890624-37-8, 2014
From the summary:
The growth of school support service privatization has slowed. The 2014 survey shows that the percentage of school districts that contract out for food, custodial or transportation services increased just 0.4 percentage points, the smallest growth recorded since the survey began. Each service, however, increased and satisfaction with contracting remains high.
2014 Survey Results
Appendix A: Revisions to Previous Publications
Appendix B: Map of Survey Findings by School District