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More Texas colleges turn to outsourcing in hopes of cutting costs

Image has not been found. URL: http://images.americanindependent.com/TexasStateRoundRockcampus_360.jpgAvery Building at the Round Rock Higher Education Center (Macuser1112/Wikimedia)

After the Texas Legislature’s latest round of funding cuts to higher education, some public universities in the state hope outsourcing some functions will help trim their budgets.

The Texas State University’s student newspaper The Star reports that the Round Rock Higher Education campus has outsourced its facilities and custodial services. Outside companies’ employees, The Star reported, do not have to go through the process of becoming state employees, and the employers can “hire and fire employees without dealing with state paperwork.”

In addition to outsourcing custodial staff, university officials are considering outsourcing parking facilities operations, too.

Texas State has contracted with Chartwells for its foodservice, which also handles staffing for university’s partnerships with companies like Starbucks, Chick-fil-A and Panda Express.

According to its website, Chartwells offers “an exciting range of educational tools that help your students make wise, informed decisions.” The company’s clients inclue several universities across the nation, including Texas’ Angelo State University, Lamar University, and the University of Texas at Dallas.

The Corpus Christi Caller-Times reported in July that Del Mar College had joined Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi in outsourcing its custodial staff and groundskeepers, replacing 17 full-time custodians, five full-time groundskeepers and 66 part-time employees. The school reportedly expected the change to save $720,000 annually.

TAMU-CC replaced its 57-member cleaning crew and expects to save $200,000 annually. The university contracted with Service Solutions of Knoxville, Tenn., which describes itself as “the premium provider of cleaning and facilities services”

Kilgore College, a community college in East Texas, outsourced some of its custodial staff to Marcis & Associates earlier this year. The school’s student newspaper reported that its board of trustees made the decision as a cost-cutting measure.

While online education has been a part of several colleges’ model for decreasing cost and increasing revenue, Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board records, show outsourcing has been another popular cost-cutting measure across the state, covering everything from campus bookstores and computer services to student housing and administrative services.

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