The bill requires public school districts to seek competitive bids for non-instructional services starting July 1, 2012. I.e., the governing board of a school district, an intermediate school district, or a charter school that directly employs personnel to provide custodial, transportation, or food services must obtain competitive bids for the provision of these services. The bill permits school districts to obtain these services from its employees if the school district sought competitive bids for the services and the costs are competitive; otherwise, school districts may seek bids from any person or entity.
Moreover, the bill attempts to render the process transparent. The bill requires a school district to post every bid on its website within ten days of the deadline for submissions. This is intended to allow the public to inspect the bids. Furthermore, within thirty days of entering into or renewing a contract or collective bargaining agreement, the school district must identify on its website the bid chosen or other actions. As an aside, the bill also encourages contractors that provide food services to use fresh and local foods. This is consistent with the Farm-to-School Procurement Act.
Notwithstanding, the bill allows for certain exemptions:
• A contract of less than the threshold amount provided under Section 1267 for
competitive bidding, as adjusted each year;
• The provision of food services, if the revenues that the school district or charter
school received from its food service program exceeded the costs of the operation
of the program, as determined for the most recent school fiscal year for which the
data were available; or
• An administration function in support of a service described above, if that
function was normally carried out at a different administrative level than the
actual provision of the service, such as planning, routing, or training.
The bill is the culmination of a trend of privatization in Michigan. As noted by the bill's supporters, Michigan school districts have increasingly outsourced non-instructional services; read this article on the Michigan Policy Network for an analysis of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy's study on privatization. While this bill only requires competitive bidding, it will assuredly facilitate this trend. The Michigan Policy Network will follow the progress of this bill and post updates when available.