ON-Lion Letter
This year saw the largest increase to date in public schools contracting out for one of their three main non-instructional services, according to the 2012 school-privatization survey from the Mackinac Center for Public Policy in Midland, Mich.  Some 61% of Michigan school districts -— 335 out of 549 -- contract for food, custodial, or janitorial services.  That is a 13% jump over last year, when 54% of districts embraced such privatization.

"This unprecedented growth may be partly attributable to the state's fiscal 2012 budget, which gave 'best practices' funding incentives to school districts to solicit bids from private venders to provide support services," according to James Hohman, Mackinac's assistant director of fiscal policy and co-author of the survey.  "The results speak for themselves, as many districts took the state up on its offer."

According to the annual survey, contracting out for support services has nearly doubled from 31% in 2001.  Last year marked the first time a majority of districts privatized for food, custodial, or busing needs.

Custodial contracting increased the most in 2012, with 217 of the 549 districts using private vendors to clean and maintain district buildings.  It has surpassed food service contracting as the most frequently privatized service.

The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation in Milwaukee supports the Mackinac Center.
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