According to respondents to the Mackinac Center’s 2007 summer survey, 29.7 percent (164 districts) reported contracting for food services to some degree. That represents a 3.6 percent (six districts) increase in the contracting rate over 2006 (see Graphic 5). Food service privatization remains the most popular service for districts to outsource; however, it is not the fastest growing arena (see "Custodial Privatization").

Graphic 5

Graphic 5 — click to enlarge

Graphic 6 shows the districts that are new to food service contracting in the Mackinac Center

Graphic 6

Conventional Michigan School Districts New to the Annual Survey's List of Districts Contracting for Food Services



Arenac Eastern School District


Decatur Public Schools

Van Buren

Dryden Community Schools


Fitzgerald Public Schools


Homer Community Schools


Inland Lake Schools


L’Anse Creuse Public Schools


Lansing School District


Mancelona Public Schools


Mattawan Consolidated School

Van Buren

Midland Public Schools


Oakridge Public Schools


Reese Public Schools


Chartwells School Dining holds the vast majority of these contracts and has provided food management services to some Michigan school districts for more than 30 years.vii

Schools are increasingly asking FSMCs to provide the labor as well as the management as part of their contracts with the districts. For example, for the 2007-2008 school year, both the Lincoln Consolidated Schools and the Ann Arbor Public Schools voted to expand a contract already held with two FSMCs, respectively, for management of their food programs to include labor as well. In the coming school year the districts will no longer employ their own food service workers. The expansion of the Ann Arbor contract is expected to save the district an additional $400,000 annually, a little over $23.50 per student per year.[8]

vi This is not the net total for the increase in food service contracting because a total of seven districts brought their food service back in-house. See "Districts That Brought Their Services Back In-House" below for more details.

[vii] Please see the section "Competitive Contracting over Time" for more detail.