August 20, 2014


LA: Hope, Resentment in New Charter School Landscape
Nine years after Hurricane Katrina, charter schools are the new reality of public education in New Orleans. The majority of public school students will attend charter schools established by a state-run school district created in the aftermath of the storm. . . . Still, most charter schools overseen by the RSD rate no better than a “C” grade in the state accountability system, while a half-dozen schools still run by the school board get an “A.” More than half of the RSD’s third-through-eighth-grade students have basic “fundamental” knowledge and skill in subjects like reading and math, up from 23 percent seven years ago, according to the state education department. Still, only 12 percent display “mastery” of subject matter.  ABC News 

MD: “Consultant” contract prompts concerns that the city may privatize its troubled waterworks
. . . “Project 1224, Procurement of Consultant Services: Water and Wastewater Plants Efficiency Study,” was advertised in early summer, drawing two “letters of interest,” the first step in determining who gets the contract. A French company, Veolia, and PA Consulting of the United Kingdom were the companies that submitted letters. Corporate Accountability International, a Boston-based nonprofit that has been bird-dogging water-privatization schemes around the world for 10 years, asked to see the letters and emailed local media to pitch the story. The group believes the city contract is the first step in a water-privatization scheme, and means to stop it.   Baltimore City Paper

WI: Exclusive: Milwaukee County Zoo Food, Catering and Retail Concessions May Be Privatized
With no public discussion, the Milwaukee County Zoo offered a request for proposals (RFP) to operate and manage its lucrative food service, catering and retail operations from interested private vendors. The timeline is tight. The RFPs were sent out on July 18, on-site visits were scheduled for July 30 and 31, and bids were due last Friday, Aug. 15. . . . But you’d have to be an insider to know about this fast-tracked privatization plan. The matter never came before the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors, nor was it included in last year’s budget. Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele doesn’t appear to have talked about it in public, either, and his aides wouldn’t respond to the Shepherd’s request to comment for this article. Express Milwaukee

AL: Editorial: City not as eager as state for toll road
. . .This proposed bridge and toll road, ultimately, are another gift to big business, just like tax breaks, free property and infrastructure that go in incentive packages. It will decrease traffic on the Hudson bridge, at least to some degree, but at a cost. That cost will be either in the form of a toll, for commuters who choose to pay it, or a delay in reaching their destination because of the slow service road. Therefore, it will in fact do little to make the free route north of the city more time and cost efficient.  The Decatur Daily

Skanska’s U.S. Chief Sees More Public-Private Infrastructure to Come
. . . . Skanska, a global colossus with $21 billion of revenue last year. . . Mr. Cavallaro said such partnerships will become more common as federal funding for infrastructure projects remains harder to obtain. “It’s a trend that will continue,” he said Tuesday in an interview. “The private industry can deliver these projects more efficiently. Even if (federal) funding returned in a really consistent way, I still think there’s a place for public-private partnerships.” Wall Street Journal (blog)