Privatization and subcontracting programs
Currently, Edison Schools, Inc., an education management organization (EMO), is marketing their for-profit summer school program, Edison Extra, to Missouri school districts. Missouri is the testing ground for this program because our local school districts are provided a double funding incentive by the state to encourage the establishment or expansion of summer school programs. By contracting with local school districts, this EMO is privatizing summer school programs.
The Missouri NEA believes that public school programs and services should be provided by public school systems and performed by public education employees. The Association opposes, in public school districts and educational institutions, privatization and subcontracting/contracting out arrangements that:
- Replace services that are, or could feasibly be, provided by public education employees.
- Place the economic security of public education employees at risk, without regard to individual job performance, so that services in question can be performed by private sector employees.
- Have the potential to reduce the resources that otherwise would be available to achieve and/or maintain a system of quality public education, or the potential to otherwise negatively impact on public education.
- Abrogate previously agreed upon benefits, reduce compensation, deny fringe benefits, and/or reduce or eliminate accumulated retirement experience and benefits.
- Have not been agreed upon by the affected affiliate.
Even if an affected affiliate objects, a school district may decide to enter into a contract with an EMO. In this situation we need to consider what is in the best interest of our members. The affected affiliate needs to understand the provisions of the contract, and if at all possible, the affiliate leaders need to provide input and leverage the positions that are in our members’ best interest. The following questions may help the affiliate fulfill this obligation:
- What are the terms and length of the contract?
- Did teachers and other education employees have input into the contract?
- Will the EMO market the district’s programs to students from other school districts? To students from private/parochial schools?
- Was parental input considered?
- Has the district confirmed the funding levels that the EMO claims are available with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE)?
- Who pays for students with IEPs, who are required by law to receive special services and modifications?
- Who absorbs the costs for food service, school maintenance, nurses, library/media, utilities, transportation, and use of school equipment?
- Whose policies will be used?
- Is the EMO bound by Title IX?
- Whose code of conduct will be used?
- How does the district’s curriculum mesh with the EMO’s curriculum?
- Will the program be used to provide high school credit courses?
- How will the students be evaluated?
- What evidence (not just multiple choice test results) is there that the program brings greater levels of student achievement than the district could provide?
- Will the district’s teachers have input into curriculum development? If so, how?
- Will the district’s teachers be the first hired?
- Are district teachers guaranteed employment in the program?
- Will teacher salaries be included in calculations for the Public School Retirement System (PSRS)?
- Has the district contacted the Public School Retirement System to confirm that teachers’ salaries can be used in calculating PSRS benefits?
- Have other school districts with EMO experience been contacted?
- What legal analysis of the contract has been done to protect the district and the students?
- How will the district evaluate the EMO’s program?
These questions can be adapted to assist an affected affiliate in dealing with various proposals from for-profit EMOs.
The Missouri NEA believes that there is an inherent conflict between serving the needs of children and serving the needs of stockholders in an educational setting.
Approved by Missouri NEA Board of Directors 5/19/01