In California and elsewhere the trend toward outsourcing, or contracting out, has been growing at an alarming rate.
For public schools, there is an outside company available for virtually every classified service. While it makes good public rhetoric to proclaim cost-savings for cash strapped schools, outsourcing brings with it a host of problems—and in many cases, it produces little or no cost-savings at all.
SB 1419 provides contracting safeguards
In 2002, CSEA sponsored SB 1419, a law that established reasonable safeguards for school districts to follow prior to contracting-out classified services. The law doesn’t prohibit outsourcing, it simply establishes common-sense requirements—such as competitive bidding, fingerprinting and background checks, and proof of cost savings—to protect our students and taxpayers.
Classified employees have become a target
Everyday, California's school employees – instructional assistants, school security guards, school bus drivers and others – work hard to educate and serve our children.
Now, in these tight budget times they have become a target. Many of the jobs they now perform have been targeted for outsourcing. Sometimes called "privatization," school districts are exploring ways to hand over important public service jobs to huge, private corporations who pay their employees lower wages and provide few, if any, health benefits. Politicians should not balance the budget on the backs of the lowest paid public service employees.
School districts are allowed to outsource for some services if they can show:
- they will save money;
- the companies who get the contracts have skilled workers who are qualified for the jobs;
- proper background checks are in place so criminals won’t be working around our children; and
- the firms are awarded the contracts through a competitive bidding process.
Special interests want safeguards repealed
Special interests have been pushing state lawmakers to eliminate these safeguards. As a result, several legislative proposals have attempted to repeal SB 1419 – the law that mandates these safeguards. Repealing these standards would allow school districts to outsource services to private corporations with little, or no, assurance of quality or protection against waste and mismanagement.
Outsourcing is bad for workers and the economy
The first school employees to lose their jobs and health benefits would primarily be women in lower paying jobs. They are hard working, tax-paying citizens who help educate our kids and keep them safe everyday. California should not repeal these safeguards and put these women out of work! The typical school bus driver is a woman in her forties, working part-time. Her starting wage is $12.44 per hour, plus health benefits. Private contractors pay a starting wage of $10 per hour and require employees to pay up to $667 per month for health insurance, making it unaffordable for these contract workers to take care of their family’s health care needs and forcing them onto taxpayer-funded public health programs.
The State of California has already shown where this might lead. California outsources the telephone call center for the food stamp program to workers in India. California's tax dollars should not be sent overseas! School district tax dollars should not be spent putting hard working public employees out on the street with no health care coverage for their families!
We should not sacrifice jobs for corporate profits
We should not sacrifice the jobs of hard working public employees to help the profits of big corporations, eliminating the laws that require them to justify cost savings and guarantee quality, so they can engage in unregulated contracts and increase their profits at the taxpayers' expense.
SB 1419: The law