Source: By NICHOLAS CONFESSORE and JENNIFER MEDINA, New York Times, May 25, 2010
ALBANY — During its first years of operation, the Niagara Charter School in Niagara Falls spent thousands of dollars on plane tickets, restaurant meals and alcohol, and more than $100,000 on no-bid consulting contracts. Yet the school’s teachers resorted to organizing a fund-raiser to buy playground equipment.
When the Roosevelt Children’s Academy, a charter school on Long Island, fired its management company after paying it more than $1 million a year, it hired two of the school’s board members as new managers — and paid them hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Source: Policy Matters Ohio, May 2010
Imagine Schools, Inc., is the nation’s largest for-profit charter school management company, with 71 schools nationwide and 11 in Ohio.
This report found that Imagine has a poor record of performance in Ohio and a business model that includes elaborate school real estate transactions, high management and operations fees, overlapping business relationships, low spending on classroom instruction, and tight control of school finances and board relationships. These problems have led to Academic Emergency ratings for five of the company’s six rated Ohio schools for the 2008-09 school year (the sixth was in Academic Watch). Because of the management company’s poor academic record in Ohio, it was barred from opening new schools for the 2010-11 school year. Board members have resigned in frustration with Imagine practices, facility costs dramatically exceed recommended guidelines from charter experts, and teacher salaries are below those of other charters.
Source: Peter F. Swan and Michael H. Belzer, Public Works Management & Policy 2010 14: 351-373
Little scholarly empirical work measures truckers’ elasticity of demand for limited access toll roads. How do truckers respond to pricing signals? As price increases, how extensively do truckers divert from limited-access highways to secondary roads? At what price does this diversion impose costs on secondary highways? Using a unique data set, this article demonstrates empirically the extent to which pricing leads to diversion. Diversion is substantial, and elasticity becomes increasingly negative with higher tolls. This has significant policy implications. The diversion of large trucks probably creates an externality that, if it were priced, might cause the benefits of tolling to outweigh the costs. This diversion may have a safety cost because secondary roads are inherently less safe than limited-access divided highways. In addition, second-best truck routings may introduce costly deadweight losses to the economy, damaging interstate commerce. Profit-maximizing toll road operators might exacerbate this diversion to the detriment of public welfare.
Source: By KELLI KENNEDY, Associated Press (FL), Tuesday, 05.25.10
A few months after a 10-year-old child was placed with eight other children in a Tampa foster home overseen by a single mom, a 13-year-old boy sneaked into his room and raped him in 2005.
But Hillsborough Kids Inc., a state contractor that placed the boy, says it’s not liable because it subcontracted with another agency which directly cared for the boy. They contend the state Department of Children and Families is ultimately responsible for overseeing its providers, according to court documents.
….. Child advocates say DCF and its contractors are trying to dodge responsibility and are wasting taxpayer money as discussions drag on
A record of the charter schools which have been publicly charged with, or are highly suspected of, tampering with admissions, grades, attendance and testing; misusing local, state, and federal funds; engaging in nepotism and conflicts of interest; engaging in complicated and shady real estate deals; and/or have been engaging in other unethical, borderline-legal, or illegal activities. And other unsavory tidbits.
Source: Progressive States Network
A website from PSN that gathers news and policy studies on government contracting an privatization.
Source: American City & County, May 19, 2010 1:16 PM, By Autumn Giusti
…….. Increasingly, new cities are either contracting or sharing city services, says Leonard Matarese, director of Public Safety Services for the International City/County Management Association. “Elected officials are coming to the understanding that we just can’t afford to do business [in the traditional sense] any longer,” Matarese says.
Source: American City & County, Apr 21, 2010 12:29 PM, By Robert Barkin
….. At a time when financial resources are scarce, governments are looking more closely at public-private partnerships as a means of tapping the expertise and economic power of the private sector to make possible large projects that might otherwise fall flat. “There’s a need for work to catch up on repair and improvement of our infrastructure. Federal and state funding is not giving nearly enough,” says Fort Bend County, Texas, Judge Robert Hebert, who is effectively the county executive. “There are fewer options and more interest in public-private partnerships.”
While government officials who have experience in the relationships tout their benefits when designed effectively, they also warn that they can be very complicated and even financially disastrous without proper planning.
Source: By LeAnne Rogers • OBSERVER (MI) May 9, 2010
Westland council members weren’t happy with the results of what Mayor William Wild calls hardball negotiations with contractors, including the Westland Youth Assistance Program and WLND cable television.
For his part, Wild wasn’t happy about the council’s position.”I sat down with both contractors to negotiate with the contracts,” said Wild, during a recent council budget study session. “If we do anything, I feel we will be negotiating against ourselves. There were tough negotiations with the others (employee bargaining units). Then I can’t put on kid gloves to deal with contractors.”
Source: The Associated Press • May 12, 2010
Indiana’s human services agency hopes its plan to add welfare workers to fix problems with a privatized, automated intake system will be deployed in every county with the automated system by year’s end, the agency’s head said Wednesday.
Secretary Anne Murphy of the Family and Social Services Administration also said the state has rejected some invoices submitted by fired welfare contractor IBM Corp. and even has asked for some money back from the Armonk, N.Y.-based technology giant.