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Detroit schools outsource more than 800 jobs

Sarah Hulett
Michigan Radio

Detroit Public Schoolsofficials have announced their biggest wave of outsourcing yet.

The district will eliminate more than 800 custodial and engineering jobs next month, and contract the work out to the facilities management giant Sodexo. Sodexo, in turn, will subcontract to seven local business.

Emergency Financial Manager Robert Bobb says the contract will save $75 million over five years:

"The bottom line is simply this: this is about reinventing the Detroit Public Schools and redirecting money to the classroom, and over time assisting in addressing a deficit."

Bobb says current employees will be considered first for jobs, and will be guaranteed the same pay for identical jobs.

A spokesman for the union that represents the district’s 500 custodians called the move an "unconscionable" attack on public school workers. Keith January says he is not convinced the new companies will honor the agreement.

Sarah Hulett is Michigan Public's Director of Amplify & Longform, helping reporters to do their best work.
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