October 24, 2012


FL: License tag privatization plans put on hold

Plans by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to privatize the state license plate tag distribution system went back to the drawing board after county tax collectors around the state raised concerns. Tallahassee Democrat

IL: Cleveland’s charter school growth a cautionary tale for Chicago

Ohio school ratings released last week show most charters that serve disadvantaged students in Cleveland have not matched Citizens’ success, and almost a third of those schools got D and F grades from the state.….[A ]fter nearly 15 years, they have yet to turn around the struggling district — which got an F in the state ratings. Cleveland’s experience could be a cautionary tale for cities like Chicago that want to accelerate private-sector reforms for public schools. Mayor Rahm Emanuel is pushing an aggressive expansion of charter schools. The district has proposed adding 60 charter schools over five years, which would increase the share of charters to about a quarter of all public schools in Chicago.  Chicago Tribune

OH: Lawmakers prepare bill requiring bigger public role before turnpike outsourcing

Reps. Matt Lundy of Elyria and Ronald Gerberry of Austintown said Tuesday they’re preparing legislation that would require the state Turnpike Commission to hold four public hearings within three months of any proposed outsourcing of turnpike operations or maintenance. Lundy said Ohioans in communities all along the Turnpike — which stretches 241 miles across northern Ohio from Pennsylvania to Indiana — are outraged at not being consulted on Gov. John Kasich’s plans to potentially privatize the tollway.  The Republic

CA: Parent-Trigger Case Ends with Charter Taking Over Struggling California School

The election was the state’s first vote for a charter school under the law, which gave parents the power to petition for such charter conversions, staff overhauls or other sweeping changes at low-performing schools…. But some school officials and parents expressed concern that only 53 ballots were cast in the charter election. Although the school has about 400 families with 610 students, only 180 parents who signed the petition for a charter campus during the campaign last year were eligible to vote under the parent-trigger law.  Los Angeles Times

KY: Kentucky Spirit files lawsuit alleging state provided faulty Medicaid data

Steve Beshear’s administration rushed to privatize Medicaid management last year and, in its haste, provided incorrect cost information to the bidders, according to a lawsuit filed Monday in Franklin Circuit Court.  Lexington Herald Leader

TX: As toll road opens, a question lingers: is 85 mph safe?

The Legislature, based on a law it passed last year, thought driving that speed — a higher limit than any other road in America — will be safe, or at least sufficiently safe to justify the time savings and other economic benefits it could bring to drivers and the state. That includes a $100 million payment to the Texas Department of Transportation (tied to the higher speed limit) from the company that built the tollway, will operate it and will pocket the toll revenue for the next 50 years. But some traffic safety experts say that when a speed limit is increased, drivers typically go faster; that when speeds increase there are more accidents; and that more people die in those accidents because of the greater forces involved.“We have decades of study and data, and conclusive evidence, that people do respond to speed limits no matter how high they’re set,” said Richard Retting, a widely published traffic safety expert and vice president of the New York-based engineering firm Sam Schwartz Inc. “We just have to learn that there is no free lunch when it comes to high speed limits. And the price we pay is higher speeds and a higher fatality rate.”  Austin American-Statesman