February 6, 2013


TX: Texas Schools Inadequately Funded, Court Rules

In a decision certain to be appealed to the Texas Supreme Court, state district Judge John Dietz ruled Monday in favor of more than 600 school districts on all of their major claims against the state’s school finance system….Dietz said that the state does not adequately or efficiently fund public schools — and that it has created an unconstitutional de-facto property tax in shifting the burden of paying for them to the local level.. Dietz said that issues raised by another party in the lawsuit, Texans for Real Efficiency and Equity in Education — a group representing parents, school choice advocates and the business community that argued the current system was inefficient and overregulated — were better solved by the Legislature. He also declined to find the state cap on charter school contracts, or the charters’ lack of access to facilities funding, unconstitutional.  Governing

TX: UT-Austin at center of fight over the purpose of college

In Gov. Perry’s push for productivity, many here see something nefarious: a campaign, rooted in a longstanding anti-intellectual strain of Texas politics, to gut a university that shouldn’t have to apologize for being “elite.””I just don’t understand why they want to dumb down a public institution of this magnitude,” said Machree Gibson, chair of the Texas Exes, UT’s powerful and independent 99,000-member alumni society, which has pushed back… Many on campus see a clash of fundamentally different visions of the very purpose of a university. “There seems to be a political move, and it’s not just in Texas, away from the classical mission of the university — cultivation of the mind and pursuit of knowledge — to a concept of a public university as sort of a job corps or a trade school,” said Peter Flawn, who came to Texas more than a half-century ago and was UT-Austin’s president from 1979 to 1985, then again in 1997-98.  USA Today

CA: Privitazation Group ACEC Tied To California Dark Money Millions

An engineering trade organization that advocates for privatizing government work has been tied to the group behind the $11 million dark money donation that prompted a legal showdown in California last fall. TPM

VA: Pro-privatization robocall blasts ports executive

A robocall aiming to convince listeners to support a privatization of Virginia’s ports began circulating as early as Monday. In addition to advocating for a management change at the state-run terminals, the script blasts an outgoing top port executive, calling him overpaid. Daily Press

PA: LETTER: Serving up liquor stores as shot for school safety a bad brew

One billion dollars will change forever how school safety initiatives are funded, and I credit the governor for his commitment. It certainly seems the days of unfunded mandates are finished. However, using the privatization and sale of the state liquor stores to fund our children’s safety simply does not mix. Taking jobs away from the working class, as his latest privatization effort would do to the tune of 5,000 PLCB employees, hurts the same families who Corbett seemingly wants to protect. Delaware County Daily Times

Republican Privatization Schemes in Action: Subhuman Prison Conditions

The ACLU has a deeply disturbing report about deteriorating conditions in Ohio prisons after Corrections Corporation of America took over.  Crooks and Liars

Postal Service to end Saturday mail service Aug. 1

It will mark the an end of an era for the agency, which started Saturday delivery in 1863. Tired of waiting for Congress to help, the Postal Service later Wednesday is expected to unveil a series of more drastic cuts they plan to pursue that will save them billions of dollars, a spokesperson for the service confirmed…The Postal Service has been borrowing billions of dollars from taxpayers to make up for shortfalls caused by a 2006 congressional mandate, under which it has to pre-fund healthcare benefits for future retirees…The move to end Saturday service is only expected to save a few billion dollars, far less than the tens of billions the Postal Service needs. CNN Money

‘Social Insecurity’ in the hands of Wall Street’s vultures

Private prisons, private roads and bridges, a private postal service, private water and sewer systems — even private schools for public education — are all great money makers for Wall Street and the 1 percent. But nothing comes close to the potential of privatizing Social Security. Wall Street has coveted this prize for decades. It’s not hard to understand why: money. It’s not just the billions in fees and commissions to be made from managing private retirement funds. It’s the assets Wall Street will get to play with. Social Security collects more than $1 trillion a year. Think what the barons could do with that. They have.  Phillyburbs.com