While school districts increased their use of privatized services in some areas, more than half of the categories posted a drop in the use of outsourcing.

The future use of privatized services is expected to decline at both school districts and colleges compared to projections made in past years.

School districts and colleges are slowly reducing their use of outsourcing, preferring instead to keep the operation of non-educational services in-house. According to American School & University's 7th Privatization/Contract Services Survey, 23 percent of school districts do not contract out any services, compared with 21.7 percent in 1999 and 12.3 percent in 1997. At colleges and universities, 6 percent did not outsource any services, compared with 5.3 percent in 1999.

Those institutions that do outsource non-educational services are not as enamored with the practice as in years past. The percentage of school districts that privatize five or more services dropped to 9 percent from 15 percent two years ago (the last year this survey was conducted). The percentage of colleges and universities that outsource five or more services shrunk to 34 percent from 44 percent in 1999.

The survey was mailed to 1,000 school business officials and 1,000 college business officials in May. The result was a 29 percent response rate for schools and a 32 percent response rate for colleges (30 percent overall).