Bay District School Board Approves Privatization Policy Change

By: Bryan Anderson Email
By: Bryan Anderson Email

Members of the Bay Educational Support Personnel Association packed the board meeting room Thursday as school board members decided whether to change the board's policy regarding privatization.

"We're going to hear from the school district's side and we're going to hear from BESPA's side," said School Board Member Ryan Neves.

The support union has been against policy changes that would allow privatization without guaranteeing jobs for current lunchroom workers, bus drivers, and other school district employees. But School Superintendent Bill Husfelt told board members the policy change is necessary to allow the district to consider privatization as a money-saving measure.

"We are in a different world financially than we've ever been in before," said Husfelt.

BESPA attorney Pat Martina disagreed.

"Obviously that's another lie," said Harrison.

In the end, the board approved a compromise, stipulating any private company taking over a support mission must give preferential treatment to the current employees. Some of those directly affected by the vote seemed satisfied with the outcome.

"I think they're playing it safe so they can look into it," said Food Service Manager Susan Ledbetter.

"I don't think by any means they're going to say 'You're all done,'" said Food Service Manager Carla Messer.

BESPA members still have to vote on the board policy change. Regardless of the outcome, the policy will still change. School district officials said they could privatize some support services as soon as next school year.

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