Indiana's second-largest school district is cutting the jobs of more than 200 custodians by hiring a private company, according to reports from The Associated Press.

The Fort Wayne Community Schools expects to save about $4.4 million a year as it responds to state funding cuts that previously led it to issue layoff notices to 311 teachers.

The School Board voted 6-1 Monday to approve a three-year contract with Sodexo, a French-based company with operations across the country, that will cost about $7.2 million a year. Much of the savings will come from having 24 fewer custodial positions and reducing pay by as much as $6 an hour.

The 31,000-student district has also closed one of its six high schools as it lost $9 million in state funding under cuts ordered by Gov. Mitch Daniels because of tax revenue shortfalls.

Fort Wayne schools Superintendent Wendy Robinson said she anticipated more funding cuts next year.

"That old saying you can't bleed blood out of a turnip, we're getting to that point," Robinson said.

The contract, which takes effect July 19, gives the 217 district custodians the right to apply for jobs with Sodexo. Those hired will have their seniority and accrued paid sick time recognized.

Michelle Tribolet, president of the local custodial union, expressed dismay at the board's decision.

"I'm wondering how they expect people to go from making $16 to $15 an hour to $10 and if they would do it themselves," she said.

Daniels announced a $300 million cut -- about 3.5 percent -- in state education funding in December in response to declining state tax revenues. The Indiana State Teachers Association has estimated a statewide loss of perhaps 7,000 teaching jobs through layoffs or attrition.