Two years ago, Gov. Snyder sent a letter to school districts outlining his “best practices”. These were no mere suggestions, they were requirements for receiving full per pupil funding. Each district was told they must meet 4 out of 5 of his mostly corporate-style practices. Among Snyder’s bright ideas was for schools to “obtain competitive bids on non-instructional services” — privatization.
Yesterday, Democracy Tree reported on the folly of privatizing food services in the Michigan prison system. The added burden of a “for profit” motive logically leads to a degradation in the quality of service, and in the case of one prison in Kentucky, it caused a riot.
Last week, as a cost-saving measure, Walled Lake Consolidated Schools voted to privatize their bus service. The Oakland County district transports daily between 12,000 and 15,000 of its 15,600 students. The district’s 120 transportation department employees have the option of interviewing with Dean Transportation, the private firm contracted by the district for the 2013-14 school year. They are not likely to earn anywhere near the $11,000 to $18,000 they currently earn as public sector employees.
The bus drivers aren’t taking this lying down though. Today, approximately a quarter of the 102 bus drivers called-in sick, causing the school district to close.
Walled Lake is not unique, their situation is emblematic of what is occurring across the state under Snyder’s anti-public sector march to the sea.
Amy Kerr Hardin