Traverse City Record-Eagle

June 8, 2012

Forum: Privatization will hurt Kingsley students

By David Kirsch
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---- — This is an open and informative letter to any and all parents, relatives and residents who have a child or children attending the Kingsley Area Schools.

For the past couple of weeks, your school board has requested bids from many private, for-profit companies to provide custodial services, cafeteria food service and busing. If any of these bids are accepted, your child/children will suffer. These companies pay low wages with no benefits, Therefore, there is a high turnover rate. The bottom line for any of these companies is profit. They could care less about your students.

Your 13 regular route bus drivers have a combined total of 136 years of safely transporting kids to and from your school. They know the kids by name, and many children have never known but one bus driver. Could the same be said about a private company?

If this outsourcing is allowed to happen, it will affect Kingsley in a terrible way. There will be a loss of local control. There will be less money in the community because most of these replacement workers live elsewhere. Your school will not be as safe as it is today.

Private, for-profit companies are all based outside of your community. Therefore, the profits they make aren't spent in local businesses and don't benefit the local economy. The outsourcing of public school employees destroys the concept of neighborhood schools, which in many cases are the backbone of the community.

Neighborhood schools serve as a unifying force for communities. They are a draw for businesses and families, which encourages economic growth. Do not fall for the misconception that cheaper and less experience is better.

Kingsley Area Schools has at present a fund balance or rainy day fund that most school districts could only dream of having. The privatization of public school employees hurts our students, our schools and our community.

About the author: David Kirsch is a Kingsley Area Schools bus driver and union steward for transportation.

About the forum: The forum is a periodic column of opinion written by Record-Eagle readers in their areas of interest or expertise. Submissions of 500 words or less may be made by emailing letters@record-eagle.com. Please include biographical information and a photo.