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noninstructional services. Of the more than 2,800 districts surveyed, Texas was home to the only one that failed to respond, Fabens. Of the districts responding, almost 4 percent used contracted bus services. Ohio finished last in the survey with a contracting rate of 17 percent overall and a bus contracting rate of nearly 7 percent. Te school bus contracting rate did surpass Georgia and Texas, but that wasn’t enough to push the Buckeye State into a higher position overall. We expect interest in competitive contracting to grow due to cost pressures in school districts in many states—unfunded pension liabilities and mandates associated with the Affordable Care Act—to name just two. Tere is another possible variable that may make the decision for districts to contract out an easier one. A case before the Supreme Court may extend “right to work” protections to roughly half of the states currently without them. Tat is, if the Supreme Court decides for the plaintiffs, gov- ernment unions will no longer be able to get public employees fired for not paying dues or fees to them. Tis may change the dynamic between school boards looking to contract out and employees’ unions attempting to thwart any conversion. Rebecca Friedrichs v. California State Teachers’ Association is awaiting a June decision. Competitive contracting—properly done—can save school districts money and improve services. Te Mackinac Center’s 2015 survey of five states shows a fairly robust contracting culture, but one that can be uneven. Te lengthy data set from Michigan suggests that there is plenty of room to grow private busing (among other) services if district leaders would give thoughtful consider- ation to that option. 


LaFaive is the director of the Morey Fiscal Policy Initiative for the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, a conservative, pro-business think tank in Mackinac, Michigan.


2017 March 17-22 SAVE THE DATE


EMBASSY SUITES HOTEL


Frisco, Texas (a suburb of Dallas)


www.stnonline.com 31 16TSD_STD_FP.indd 1 2/17/16 3:40 PM


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