BENTON HARBOR, Mich. - A Feb. 23 recall election in Benton Harbor Area Schools is a referendum on the school board's decision to privatize busing, according to The (St. Joseph) Herald-Palladium. Three school board members who voted in favor of hiring First Student Inc. to take over transportation a year ago are named on the recall ballot.

Ronnie Brown, president of the local support staff union, told the Herald-Palladium that he filed the recall petition because the privatization was in retaliation for the union's refusal to switch health insurance providers. He said that about 50 people lost their jobs, though board President Dan McGinnis has said that most employees were subsequently hired by First Student, the report said.

Board members have said the privatization will save the district about $2.75 million over five years, according to The Herald-Palladium. The district is facing an $11 million overspending problem, the report said.

The (St. Joseph) Herald-Palladium, "Payback time for BH school board?" Jan. 24, 2010

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "School Privatization Survey," Dec. 7, 2009