Tag Archives: Michigan

Detroit Water dept. may cut staff 80% / Consultant’s drastic proposal aims to rein in soaring costs

Source: Christine MacDonald, Detroit News, August 9, 2012

The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department could slash more than 80 percent of its staff over the next five years in a drastic overhaul to cut costs and reduce customers’ rate increases…. If adopted, the department would go from having 1,978 employees to 374 over the next five years. Another 361 employees would still work for the department but would be outsourced through other companies, according to the proposal. Officials estimate it would save about $139 million a year in personnel costs. Most jobs would be cut through attrition, but officials said layoffs are possible….Among the departments being looked at for outsourcing: security, rate setting, grounds and facilities maintenance, office cleaning and garbage collections, some lab functions, fleet repairs, payroll, legal, print shop and billing….

Bay City considers merging police, fire departments into one public safety department

Source: Jennifer Profitt, WJRT, July 30, 2012

A Mid-Michigan community is looking at changing their public safety model to save money. It’s an idea that some cities and towns have kicked around when budgets are tight. Bay City is looking at merging it’s police and fire to make up a nearly $2 million deficit. This plan would not mean any officers or firefighters are laid off. Instead, they just wouldn’t fill open positions….

Grand Rapids schools remain concerned pension overhaul will penalize them for privatizing

Source: Monica Scott, mlive.com, July 18, 2012

As the Senate today debates substantial pension reform, Grand Rapids schools is concerned about a switch from funding the system based on a percentage of payroll to the cost of operating expenses, which officials say penalizes districts that privatized to cut costs.

With Ypsilanti and Willow Run school districts merger, longer days and longer calendar will be the formula to revive fortunes

Source: Jo Mathis, Bridge Magazine, July 12, 2013
…The new district, which will serve more than 4,000 students, will not be your average Michigan set-up. Starting Sept. 3, Ypsilanti will:
–Have a school day that has been increased by 30 minutes.
–Have a school year of 187 days, compared to the state minimum of 175.
–Have an even longer work calendar for school employees.
–Have a faculty working – for now – without a union contract.

What will not have changed, though, is the financial stresses that had the two component districts operating at a deficit – about $9 million in Ypsilanti and $2 million in Willow Run – in their last year….As for finances, the new district will operate with a $50 million budget, and will receive $7,536 per student from the state. It also is negotiating with the state on a timeline to bring the books into balance, with Ypsilanti pushing a 15-year plan, and the state countering with a 10-year line, Menzel explained…. In the 2011-2012 school year, 2,600 students from Willow Run and Ypsilanti took advantage of the school choice program and left for another public school district or charter school. As a result, $19 million in state per-pupil grants left the districts.

…The Ypsilanti and Willow Run had two very different contracts previously, but when the merger eliminated the old districts, the union contracts went out as well. Once there is a defined union according to the Michigan Employment Relations Commission, teachers will be represented at the bargaining table discussing wages, hours and work conditions. Until then, the district has the right to set its own work parameters….

…Template for Future Consolidations?Most of Michigan’s consolidations have been between very small districts, most recently in Lenawee County, where the Britton/Macon district and Deerfield districts consolidated. But those districts weren’t running deficits and didn’t face the same socio-economic challenges of YCS. (About 85 percent of Willow Run students and two-thirds of Ypsilanti students qualified for free or reduced school lunches last year.)…Citing the desperate situations in Buena Vista and Inkster that paved the way for legislation to dissolve the school districts there, Menzel said he is encouraged that 61 percent of voters in the November 2012 election agreed to the voluntary consolidation of Ypsilanti and Willow Run….
Ypsilanti, Willow Run residents will vote on consolidating school districts
Source: Lori Higgins, Detroit Free Press, August 9, 2012

Residents of the Willow Run and Ypsilanti school districts in Washtenaw County will have the final say on whether the two struggling school districts should consolidate. … Though many districts are sharing services with other districts, a complete consolidation is less common. Since 2000, there have been only two consolidations, including one last year that merged the Britton-Macon and Deerfield school districts in Lenawee County. …

Galesburg-Augusta privatizes its bus services

Source: Julie Mack, mlive.com, July 02, 2012

The Galesburg-Augusta school board voted 6-0 Monday to privatize its bus services, which takes 18 employees off the school payroll and will result in a net savings of at least $100,000 in 2012-13. However, officials from Auxilio Services of Cincinnati, Ohio, the company given the transportation contract Monday, pledged to work with the bus drivers and give them the opportunity to work for their firm…. Under the contract, Auxilio will provide the transportation personnel and the district will continue to own the buses and cover fuel and maintenance costs…. Under Auxilio, drivers would earn the same or slightly more but would not get employer-paid benefits….Last week, the district signed off on an agreement to privatize its custodial services. The current four-person custodial staff costs the district $361,000 a year and D & L Industrial Inc. offered a 6.5-person staff for three years at $264,000 a year. …

First Student wins 2 Mich. contracts

Source: School Bus Fleet, June 28, 2012

First Student Inc. has won two new contracts to serve school districts in Michigan. Under a three-year agreement with Flint (Mich.) Community Schools, the contractor will add 45 new buses to the district’s fleet. Buses will continue to operate from the school district’s transportation facility, and First Student expects to retain more than 90% of the existing work force…. The contract with Flint Community Schools begins in September. First Student’s five-year contract with Saginaw (Mich.) Public Schools will also begin in September.

Parchment schools privatize 11 custodial jobs, cut 4.5 other positions in ‘first round’ of cuts

Source: Ursula Zerilli, Mlive.com, June 26, 2012

The Parchment School District Board of Education used charts and graphs to explain the drastic revenue losses driving the district to privatize 11 custodial positions and lay off a librarian, 3 aides and a part-time counselor at their meeting on Monday….Whitacker said she was told there were no concessions they could make that would beat the deal janitorial service company D.M. Burr is offering the district to contract their jobs….

…Last week, Galesburg-Augusta Community Schools decided to hold off on privatizing its custodial and transportation workers to give union employees more time to make concessions….

Lake Orion Schools Will Outsource Custodial Services

Source: Brittney Moody, Oakland Township-Lake Orion Patch, June 14, 2012

Lake Orion Custodians Speak Out Against Privatizing Services
Source: Brittney Moody, Oakland Township Patch, January 26, 2012

Two custodians gave a thorough presentation on the true value of their services to the district at Wednesday night’s Lake Orion Board of Education meeting, in an effort to stop the board from considering privatizing custodial services….At the meeting on Jan. 11, John Fitzgerald, assistant superintendent of business and finance for the district, noted that other area school districts had started to privatize their services, and a report he referred to showed possible savings of between $1 million and $1.69 million for the district, if they chose to privatize the services. It was decided then that the Request for Proposals (RFP) that had been drafted could be finalized. Board members at Wednesday’s meeting discussed the timeline for analyzing bids from vendors, and possibly awarding one.

FBI raids River Rouge School District

Source: Robert Snell and Tony Briscoe, Detroit News, June 8, 2012

FBI agents raided the River Rouge School District’s administrative offices Wednesday amid accusations that a school executive hired relatives and forged signatures on invoices and contracts that involved federal money…. The raid follows a bombshell lawsuit filed by former Superintendent Carlos Lopez, who sued the school board and several school officials May 10.
In the lawsuit, Lopez alleges the district was paying contractors for work it could have obtained for free from Wayne RESA, the county’s intermediate school district. Last June, Reid revealed during a closed school board meeting that one of those contractors was her brother-in-law, according to the lawsuit. He received $173,000, according to the lawsuit…..

Flint emergency manager plans to privatize operation of city jail

Source: Ron Fonger, mlive.com, June 06, 2012

When the city jail reopens later this year, a private company will apparently be watching the inmates. Flint emergency manager Michael Brown confirmed his decision to privatize the operation of the city lockup today after Genesee County Board of Commissioners Chairman Jamie Curtis was told Sheriff Robert Pickell was no longer in the running to handle the job….