Privatization in schools is an extremely controversial topic. Large school districts provide significant

employment opportunities to various local communities which is obviously important. 

We discussed in prior articles that eventually school districts will be faced with the problem of

expenses exceeding revenues. I predict this will be a reality in the next three to five years. I laid out

theses facts in earlier articles and the argument is compelling.  Therefore, school districts need to

explore better ways of delivering quality education in a cost effective manner. Privatization, in school

districts, does have a track record of success. 

The outsourcing of food service is one example. The privatization of food service programs has been

an undeniable success in school districts nationwide.   Food service, is of course, the program that

delivers breakfast and lunch to our students. It is important to remember that profits are not allowed

in public education, however the accounting methods are based upon a private sector model.  In

simple terms, food service programs are treated as businesses, so we record profits and losses.  For

many years, the Hamilton school district has operated their food service programs at a significant

loss. This means that the program needed to be supplemented with funds from the general budget.

In Hamilton, for example all district employees remained on payroll until they reached retirement age

and then their replacements were filled by a private company.  The Hamilton school district went

from a deficit to a surplus of nearly $700,000.  In addition, we were able to modernize elementary

cafeterias at no cost to the taxpayer.

In another example, we purchased a large freezer with surplus funds that allowed us to take

advantage of generous food discounts.  If polutry goes on sale, it is purchased in bulk and stored in

the freezer.  These discounts dramatically reduces bottom line costs. It is important to note that the

students reported increased satisfaction with the quality and variety of the food offerings as well.

This is an outsourcing model that has proven to be very successful. Privatization in schools can be

very cost effective.

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