November 27, 2012


For-profit colleges losing out to state schools charging less

For-profit colleges have also suffered damage to their reputations. Investigators have said the schools use high-pressure sales tactics to mislead applicants about costs and job placement, leaving them with government loans they can’t repay. Seattle Times

Global Corporations Eye The Privatizing Of Highways

These so-called public-private partnerships, or P3s, are a multibillion-dollar global business. One Swedish corporation has called the United States the “trillion-dollar opportunity” for privatized highways and other public infrastructure.  Disinformation

Writing bills, finding funds: Bush’s foundation at work

Soon after leaving office in 2007, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush launched the Foundation for Excellence in Education to “ignite a movement of reform, state by state.” A close examination of the foundation’s work, including a review of thousands of pages of email, shows the staff of two dozen has worked aggressively – if not always with immediate success – to shape public policy.  Chicago Tribune

VA: Road-building process is flawed, study contends

The state’s increasing reliance on public-private partnerships to fund major road projects needs more independent oversight and greater transparency to ensure the deals serve the public interest, according to a new report on the practice. The report, released Monday by the nonprofit Southern Environmental Law Center, said decision-making on road projects has become concentrated under the governor’s office…. The study’s author, Jim Regimbal, suggested state legislators wrest some control of the process by requiring General Assembly approval of state subsidies on each project and whenever tolls are considered. In Illinois, the legislature must approve a project before officials can seek proposals from the private sector on it, his report said.  The Virginian-Pilot

IL: Illinois Supreme Court Considers HOA Speeding Tickets

High court in Illinois hears oral arguments in dispute over whether homeowners associations may issue speeding tickets. An Illinois motorist is fighting back against his homeowners association (HOA) for pulling over motorists and issuing speeding tickets. …The HOA imposes speeding tickets that can cost between $50 and $200. Failure to stop for the HOA private security force also incurs a $200 fine for “obstructing an officer.” The fines can be imposed on homeowners, even if they did were not responsible for the alleged violation.  The

WI: Wisconsin continues to outsource wastefully – opinion

In 2011, the Governor’s Commission on Waste, Fraud and Abuse held meetings at which our association, representing public engineers, called for more accountability in state agency outsourcing of public works to consultants. We showed how state government has wasted tens of millions of dollars outsourcing more and more public projects that could be done in-house for less money. We cited numerous studies produced by state agencies, third parties and the Legislative Audit Bureau. The commission seemed to agree. But what to do about it? The Walker administration and Republican legislators answered with legislation that weakened state oversight. Instead of performing cost-benefit analyses before deciding to outsource state work, this “fix” would have permitted analysis only after consulting work was completed – like studying where the cows went after you’ve left the barn doors open.  Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

WI: Walker skeptical of toll roads, gas tax hike

Governor Scott Walker says he would rather not delay major road construction projects in the state, if funding can be found. Walker said he “doesn’t think there’s a big appetite for a gas tax increase” and also reiterated his opposition to the idea of toll roads in Wisconsin. The governor noted that the required federal approval would also limit any quick financial benefits from tolls. He says the idea of something like “hot lanes,” in which people pay to use a faster express lane along a freeway, might be a more viable alternative. Walker says the funding question will be considered as he prepares his budget proposal, which will be released in February. WTAQ

OH: Cincinnati to Pursue Privatizing Parking to Balance Budget

In the past, Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld voiced concerns about privatizing parking: “I’ll await more details, but it seems penny-wise and pound-foolish to forgo a steady revenue stream for a lump-sum payment. Cincinnati needs a structurally balanced budget and can’t keep relying on one-time sources. Places like Chicago and Indianapolis have seen their parking rates more than double following privatization — that’s a bad deal for citizens, and something we don’t need while we’re experiencing an urban renaissance.” Another concern is whether the city’s current parking employees will be laid off if parking services are sold.  Cincinnati CityBeat

PA: Is privatizing Pennsylvania Lottery a smart bet? Lawmakers offer mixed opinions

House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody says his position hasn’t changed about privatizing the Pennsylvania Lottery and wonders why Gov. Tom Corbett would tinker with its success. Patriot-News

PA: Union leaders to meet with state over lottery privatization

Leaders of the union representing a majority of Pennsylvania Lottery employees are questioning state efforts to privatize the program. A British company is the only bidder for the lottery, which funds efforts like property tax rebates.

TN: TN school vouchers could include public, private school choices

As state lawmakers and members of a Gov. Bill Haslam-appointed task force consider the scope of a possible school voucher program in Tennessee, talks aren’t limited to using public dollars for private schooling. Rather, under one scenario designed to expand choice further, low-income students enrolled in struggling schools could attend higher-performing public schools across town, outside their home districts and — if need be — across county lines. Per-pupil state education funds would follow a student from his or her zoned school to their new school, private or public, wherever it might be.  The Tennessean

TX: Custodial positions to be outsourced across campus

Texas State-employed custodians will eventually be a thing of the past, as the outsourcing of these positions sweeps across campus. The university started the process of outsourcing its custodial services last summer. University Star

UT: Outsourcing of substitute teachers in Utah school districts on the rise

The Nebo School District is joining a growing group of Utah districts outsourcing substitute teachers.  Salt Lake Tribune