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Outsourcing gets nod in Imlay City



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December 26, 2007
IMLAY CITY — As they had hoped, outsourcing custodial services will save the school district money.

At their Dec. 17 meeting, the school board accepted a cleaning service bid from HiTech Building Services of Jenison, Michigan for $20,810 for the remainder of this school year. HiTech was one of five private companies to bid the cleaning job at Borland Elementary School. The 500 employee company has provided cleaning services in the Almont School District since 2005.

"In the first six months, we expect to save $30,000 and a minimum of $72,000 per year thereafter when compared with our current expenditures," Amy Swantek, the school director of business services, said.

Supt. Gary Richards said that with three custodial jobs currently vacant, no employees will lose their jobs as a result of the private contracting.

"It is our responsibility to maintain our focus on teaching and learning, even in light of the state of our depressed economy, declining enrollments and increased costs for health care and retirement benefits," Richards said.

"Essentially, we must focus our efforts and our resources on educational priorities—what is best for the teaching and learning of our students."

It's expected they'll begin work on Jan. 7.

In a press release, the district points to statistics showing that more and more schools are turning to private companies for school services. According to the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, about 15 percent of the state's districts have outsourced custodial services. That's up close to 27 percent from last year. The savings ranges from $90-123 per pupil per year.

HiTech was the second lowest bidder to Omni Facility, but by law, the district is required to accept the 'lowest responsible bid.' Richards said they chose HiTech for "their experience cleaning school district buildings." Omni's bid was about $380 less than HiTech.

Richards said the district will evaluate the service in June. He has been given authorization to extend the contract with HiTech for another one to two years at a cost of $35,940 per year.

Assistant Editor: Maria Brown joined the Tri-City Times staff in 2003, the same year she earned a bachelor's degree in English from Calvin College. Born and raised in Imlay City, she now resides north of Capac where she enjoys working on the farm, gardening and reading.
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