October 18, 2012


TN: Charter School Flap Escalates

Tennessee education officials withheld $3.4 million from Nashville’s school district after the city barred a charter school from opening in an affluent neighborhood, in a fight that highlights the growing tension over the expansion of such schools…. Until this year, only low-income students or those in low-performing schools were allowed to attend charter schools in Tennessee. But a change in state law last year cleared the way for any child to enroll. The Nashville school board had twice rejected the Great Hearts application, saying the proposed school would enroll students only from middle- and upper-income communities in West Nashville and, therefore, harm the system’s efforts to diversify schools.  The Wall Street Journal

IL: Parents air grievances about privatized school bus service

Since literally the first day that Auxilio Services of Cincinnati took over transportation services for Galesburg-Augusta Community Schools, parents have experienced major problems, residents told the Galesburg school board at a standing-room-only meeting meeting Monday. Kalamazoo Gazette

TX: The price of privatization – Jim Hightower

In 2005, the Republican governor and legislature in my state of Texas drank deeply from the cup of privatization theory, resulting in Accenture Inc. getting a nice contract to show its corporate prowess in handling food stamp applications. Accenture computers and consultants arrived, and 2,900 state workers exited. After months of bumbling, Accenture botched the job so badly that the state’s sheepish officials had to fire the corporation and give the program back to the state. But — oh! — one little problem. Those 2,900 fired workers were gone. Having moved, taken other jobs, or just gotten fed up, most weren’t coming back…  Prior to privatization, the Texas food stamp program won national praise for its efficiency. Now it’s a mess — and hungry people are paying the price.  Boulder Weekly

Five Factors That Will Determine Whether TIFIA Benefits Transit

A Government Accountability Office (GAO) study this summer observed that TIFIA has heavily tilted toward “large, high-cost highway projects…A closer look at the GAO data shows an even stronger highway slant. In 2010 and 2011, transit received only 16.6 percent of TIFIA assistance and most of this money was for short-term loans that were quickly retired. It’s not hard to see how private investors would view toll roads as more likely to generate profit. Projects with indirect costs borne largely by society may have a leg up compared to those that require subsidies. Streetsblog Capitol Hill

Garbage firms dig around for growth

Waste management companies can’t make people throw out more garbage, but they can try and coax more municipalities to contract out household waste collection and ensure that more of it ends up in private facilities. That is a potential $8 billion opportunity …”Municipalities that increasingly face fiscal constraints may want to privatize, in other words sell off their landfills, garbage trucks and staff,” said Morgan Stanley analyst Vance Edelson. Politics also plays a big role. Big municipalities are wary of laying off perhaps thousands of workers and facing off with unions if waste management is privatized, analysts say. Still, privatization is not a new concept in the $50 billion U.S. garbage industry. Three decades ago, more than 75 percent of collection and disposal of trash was managed by municipalities, said Waste Business Journal. But the garbage industry has found it tough to get contracts from larger cities, especially in the Midwest and Northeast. Some, like New York City, have privatized only a part of the process.  Reuters

CA: SAN BERNARDINO: Refuse outsourcing hits bump in road.

Virtually the same council members who in August voted in favor of contracting out part of trash collection service to bring in cash for the bankrupt city, voted on Monday to table the proposal. They didn’t say why.  Press-Enterprise

NH: Prison privatization faces an uphill battle

The plan to privatize New Hampshire’s prison probably won’t be approved by the Executive Council this year — and will have a foe in the corner office next year, no matter who wins the gubernatorial race – putting the privatization process in jeopardy.  New Hampshire Business Review

IL: Black aldermen criticize Chicago’s outsourcing plan

Several African-American aldermen took aim Tuesday at Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s plan to outsource telephone customer service jobs at the Water Management Department, saying the effort would have an unfair impact on black employees.  Chicago Tribune

LA: Lawmakers delay vote on privatization

What promises to be a close legislative committee vote on the proposal to privatize the remaining Louisiana Office of Group Benefits insurance plan has been postponed by the House Appropriations and Senate Finance chairmen. Opponents such as state Rep. Katrina Jackson, D-Monroe, said they believe the vote was postponed because the administration doesn’t have the votes to approve it. Jackson said she has been lobbying colleagues for weeks to oppose the transfer and believes she has gained traction. “They don’t have the votes,” she said. “What you’re seeing now is legislative independence coming forth. We’re showing that we’re not just a rubber stamp for the governor. We’re doing exactly what we’re supposed to do, which is acting as a check and balance for the executive branch.” Jackson said the administration hasn’t proven to her that the move would save $20 million annually, and she opposes what she said would be more than a $70 million payment to Blue Cross from the OGB surplus to administer the PPO.  Monroe News Star