Several years ago the Bethel Park School District in Pennsylvania voted to contract with ServiceMaster, a $1.5 billion multinational corporation, to provide custodial and maintenance services to city schools. The School Board took this step because it believed it would save money. Within days, 25% of the district's unionized janitors got pink slips from the city, only to receive job offers from ServiceMaster to do the same work at half the wages. Service-Master cut other costs as well, including preventive maintenance on expensive city equipment. By the time the ServiceMaster contract was up for renewal, Bethel Park had discovered the real costs of contracting out: dirty schools, destroyed equipment, and low morale among poorly-paid workers. The school district dropped the contract, having learned the hard way that contracting with a profit-making corporation raises costs while weakening public control over service delivery.
AB469: Forced Privatization of School Services and Free Rent for New Businesses?, I linked to a fact sheet (pdf) regarding privatization of services within public schools and why it’s not a good idea. ServiceMaster is referenced over and over again, noting the problems the schools had with that particular company:In my post,