The percentage of school districts in Michigan contracting out custodial, transportation and/or food services increased slightly from the 2012-13 to 2013-14 school year, from 66.2% to 66.6%, reports the Mackinac Center for Public Policy in its latest Michigan School Privatization Survey.
The percentage of those contracting out food services over the same period grew from 36.1% to 38.7%, a net increase of 14 districts, from 197 to 211. That was the largest increase in number of districts opting for contracting in a single year since the Mackinac survey was initiated in 2003.
"School officials mentioned that new federal regulations of school food selections might be reducing student participation," the report notes in its introduction. "If students are not purchasing meals, it may strain a district’s projected food revenue, potentially creating a deficit. Districts may have responded by turning to private management firms to handle the food provision services to avoid taking this risk."