June 27, 2013


NJ: NJ Turnpike contract drops ‘snow bonus,’ ‘productivity bonus,’ other perks. Under the threat of privatization, about 100 Turnpike toll supervisors and another 150 or so unionized maintenance and administrative employees have worked out an agreement with the New Jersey Turnpike Authority that eliminates contract perks that left the authority the target of a critical state comptroller’s report three years ago.  The Star-Ledger

CA: Financial misdeeds sinking Oakland charter school.  A high-performing charter school is one step closer to closing under the weight of an audit showing its former director broke the law by paying himself $3.8 million from school funds for construction and rental services.  San Jose Mercury News

NY: Mayor Bloomberg’s Legacy: Dismantling Our Communities’ Social Services Infrastructure.  In El Barrio/East Harlem alone, we are seeing four parcels of NYCHA land being considered for luxury development (including one where a busy community center operates), the sale of a Human Resources Administration Multi-Service Center, the closure and unclear fate of the East Harlem District Public Health Office building, and the tearing down of a school serving over-age and under-credited youth to make way for more luxury housing. These are not just buildings and parcels of land; they represent direct services to the El Barrio/East Harlem community. Mayor Bloomberg has made privatization a hallmark of his administration, which has been most salient in his administration’s rampant contracting out of municipal services. But in this final year, we are watching as this agenda goes into overdrive in an effort to have the next administration inherit as many of these projects as possible, when it might be too late to stop them. The net effect of these proposals is a dismantling of the local social service infrastructure that is so vital to low-income communities like mine.  Huffington Post

TN: A new firm is taking over Davidson County’s privatized child support enforcement. But those same officials say the track record of the previous two companies that ran the agency — Maximus, headquartered in Reston, Va., and Policy Studies Inc., which Maximus purchased in 2012 — shows why privatization remains a problematic solution to government bureaucracy. Neither company lived up to its promised potential, says Davidson County Juvenile Court Magistrate Scott Rosenberg…. Some critics even claim that federal dollars meant to spur child-support enforcement only exacerbate the problem. Why should a company work harder to collect, they argue, when the government offers money to address the problem of low collection rates? Doing the job well, theoretically, could put the company out of a job. Those are some of the issues facing the agency as YoungWilliams prepares to assume control. For critics of Maximus in particular, July 1 cannot come soon enough.  Nashville Scene

NC: Bill that revamps N.C. Commerce gets preliminary OK. SB 127 is tied to Gov. Pat McCrory’s plans to privatize the state’s economic development efforts through changes to the Commerce Department, a reorganization of the regional partnerships and, potentially, the establishment of a state venture capital fund. The Business Journal of the Greater Triad Area

NC: Idiocracy comes to life in the mentality of Gov. Pat McCrory. After rejecting Medicaid expansion under Obamacare, a decision that will cost the state an estimated 26,000 health care jobs, McCrory wants to turn Medicaid administration over to private companies that will take their profits off the top. Privatization is how Mike Easley’s administration wrecked mental health care in North Carolina. But why learn from history? The Independent Weekly

Goldman Sachs Gets Into Public Education. The corporate “ed reform” movement to privatize public education is quite lucrative – public education spending runs in the billions across the country. So should anyone be surprised that Wall Street has stepped out of the shadows to get in on the action? Wall Street has already been the funding base for Michelle Rhee and other privatizers but has always presented itself merely as trying to benevolently control people not control people to exploit them. But now Goldman Sachs is creating new financial instruments to finance public education.  Firedoglake

Study: Charter schools are improving, but performance still close to public schools. Students in charter schools fared better than those in traditional public schools in some states — including New Jersey — but a majority of charters across the United States still deliver no better education than traditional public schools in reading, and 40 percent are about the same in math, according to a new study released Tuesday by researchers at Stanford University. The Star-Ledger