Senate Bill 1074 is raising some attention, both good and bad. State employees of public school districts have written to the Governor to ask about their potential pay cuts due to the contracts, and The Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources in Troy Michigan has traveled to Lansing to talk about the benefits of contracting.
Senate Bill 1074 is a proposal to require all school districts, intermediate school districts and public school academies to outsource all non-instructional labor from $20,000 and up; basically everyone but the teachers, including custodial, transportation and food services. Not only will they be required to obtain contracts, but they must obtain the most competitive bid for a contract, which in turn must be posted on each schools website before consideration. Now if contracts are already in place the school is not required to re-contract until the current one is up, but at the point all of the new rules would apply.
The department of education would gain the responsibility for developing a competitive bidding process, and would be required to make the process available to those affected. The bidding process includes making the need for contractor's public by placing an ad in a general circulation newspaper at least once, prior to selecting a contract bid. Opposition to the bill sits generally with state employees, who will take the pay cuts and loose jobs to outsourcing. They argue that this bill will eventually create losses of students in public schools, which will decrease funding, causing the loss of more staff. The argument is that when these employees lose their jobs. they are going to have to look elsewhere for employment taking their families with them. Others are wondering how they are going to continue supporting their families with a 10% pay cut, loss of some benefits and being stuck as a new employee at $9.90/hr.
Favorable positions on the bill are coming from those with experience with the contracted employees. There are 551 school districts in Michigan, 250 of them already contract with private companies for at least one of the non-instructional services. Pappageorge, one of the senators sponsoring this bill says, "If all school districts were to competitively bid for janitorial, food and transportation services - Michigan could save at least $200 million and up to $500 million...money schools can direct to the classroom." There is potential for a savings of $310/pupil says Troy Michigan Community Schools.
Republicans indicate a savings of at least $150 per pupil when all three services are bid out. Troy Community Schools did this and expect a savings of $310 per pupil.
Troy School District's Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources Jasen Witt traveled to Lansing to testify about how competitively bidding out non-instructional services is saving the district a great deal of money and allowing its limited dollars to be focused toward the classroom.
Nearly 250 of the state's 551 (or 44.6 percent) school districts contract with private companies for one or more of these non-instructional services.
"If all school districts were to competitively bid for janitorial, food and transportation services - Michigan schools could save at least $200 million and as much as $500 million," Pappageorge said. "That's more money schools could direct to the classroom."
Opposition to the bill comes in a letter to the Ogemaw County News Herald by Thomas F. Spaniola.
He says the bill would force school boards to privatize services, a decision that is not in the best interest of the students, community, or the district in the effect it would also have on Michigan's already falling economy. This bill would cause a loss of beneficial employment in our communities, in turn forcing us to look elsewhere for employment, potentially out of state. This Bill would eventually reduce the number of students in the public schools, decreasing funds, which could cause loss of other staff. The State would be taking away the school boards control over the support staff personnel. When jobs are outsourced, the School Board loses all control over the quality of work being done as well as the hiring of qualified employees.
http://www.legislature.mi.gov/(S(eqrewdy05idzoa45ot1ciz2d))/mileg.aspx?page=GetObject&objectname=mcl-380-1267 - bidding process