Michigan School Districts Attempt to Ban Privatization

An interesting legal dispute is unfolding in Kent County, Michigan. Earlier this year nine Kent County School Districts, the Kent Intermediate School District and the Michigan Education Association included a ban on privatization in their collective bargaining agreement (CBA).

The CBA states that, “All districts agree not to privatize any KCEA/MEA unionized services for the life of this agreement.”

The Mackinac Center Legal Foundation has filed a lawsuit on behalf of five Kent County taxpayers asking the 17th Circuit Court in Grand Rapids, Michigan to remove the provisions from the CBA that ban privatization. The Mackinac Center argues in their suit that the CBA violates Michigan state law; specifically section MCL 423.215(3) of the 1994 Public Employment Relations Act. Mackinac Center research found that by banning privatization in the CBA, officials could cost taxpayers nearly $7 million from savings not captured through privatization.

To learn more about this case visit Mackinac Center’s website here, and watch this piece they produced on the case:

Kent County School Services Privatization Lawsuit from Mackinac Center on Vimeo

For more on privatization efforts in Michigan, check out Mackinac’s Michigan Privatization Digest and Michigan Privatization Report. Also keep an eye out for Reason Foundation’s forthcoming Annual Privatization Report 2010.

Harris Kenny is a research assistant at Reason Foundation