Category Archives: Higher.Education

Prisons keep LSU medical pact

Source: Marsha Shuler, Advocate, July 9, 2013

The state corrections agency reversed course on a contract that provides medical care for inmates in state prisons. Legislators had complained when the state Department of Corrections chose a Texas firm to provide “telemedicine services” to replace LSU….Corrections Undersecretary Thomas Bickham said Monday that talks with LSU have resulted in LSU’s School of Medicine retaining the contract to provide services for prisoners in south Louisiana penal facilities. The Texas firm — U.S. Telehealth — will have the telemedicine pact for state prisons in north Louisiana, he said. Bickham said final negotiations are taking place on three, one-year, renewable contracts. He estimated total costs of contracts with LSU and U.S. Telehealth would run about $1.8 million annually.

Related:
La. lawmakers question hiring Texas firm for prisoner care
Source: Melinda Deslatte, Associated Press, June 23, 2013

Louisiana lawmakers are questioning a decison by the state Department of Corrections to hire a Texas company for telemedicine services for prisoners, rather than continuing to use the LSU health system. The change is set to take effect with the new fiscal year that begins July 1. It’s part of Gov. Bobby Jindal’s push to privatize the university-run hospitals and clinics, which includes reworking the way prisoners receive health services that have been provided through LSU…. Louisiana lawmakers reviewing LSU hospital privatization deals said they were displeased that the state would contract with an out-of-state company rather than use its own university system for the services…

…According to information provided by the department, LSU proposed doing the work for $2.9 million a year, compared to $1.7 million for US Telehealth, which was the cheapest of the five bids submitted to the state. Three companies offered bids lower than LSU did, and the corrections department said the university system’s proposal didn’t include services for north and central Louisiana prisons….As part of the Jindal administration’s hospital privatization efforts, the corrections department will receive $50 million in the 2013-14 fiscal year to cover the costs of prisoner care, which had previously been paid through the LSU health care system….

..Murray said the corrections department should have returned to LSU to determine if the university system could match the price offered by US Telehealth. He said the loss of the contract will shrink funding for the medical schools, which he said likely will either ask lawmakers for more money to fill the gap or seek tuition increases on its students….

Strapped Rhode Island City Presses College to Ante Up / Governor Signs Law Letting Smithfield Charge Bryant University Annual Fee for Safety Services

Source: Jennifer Levitz, Wall Street Journal, July 16, 2013
(subscription required)

As various town-gown battles simmer throughout New England, this small community has just received a rare weapon: the right to bill a local university for public-safety services. Gov. Lincoln Chafee recently signed legislation granting the town the ability to charge private Bryant University an annual fee for taxpayer-funded police, fire and rescue response. The law may be the first of its kind, and the university’s president has said he plans to challenge it in court….
Related:
New Law in Rhode Island Requires Bryant U. to Pay Town for Services
Source: Charles Huckabee, Chronicle of Higher Education, Ticker blog, July 12, 2013

Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee of Rhode Island has signed into law a measure that requires Bryant University to pay the Town of Smithfield for police, fire, and rescue-service expenses, The Providence Journal reported. The university’s president, former U.S. Rep. Ronald K. Machtley, had urged the governor to veto the bill, saying it would set a dangerous precedent for the legislature to force a nonprofit educational institution to make such payments.

The legislation requires Bryant to pay the town $250,000 to $370,000 annually, starting in March 2014, unless the two parties have negotiated a different agreement before then. Earlier this week, Mr. Machtley said that if the bill became law, the university would fight it in court. In a statement issued on Thursday, he said the university would meet with the town but would also “undertake a review and consider all of its options, including litigation.”
Related:
Chafee signs bill requiring Bryant University to reimburse Smithfield for services
Source: Katherine Gregg, Providence Journal, July 11, 2013

…The legislation requires Bryant and the town to negotiate an agreement for payment. If they fail to do so by March 1, 2014, the matching House and Senate bills require Bryant to begin paying the town for the cost….

…After Machtley called a press conference to denounce the legislation last weekend, Winfield, D-Smithfield, said Smithfield averages about 300 calls a year for service at Bryant and, from that, about 50 arrests, which have to be adjudicated. “Well, why is that on the back of the taxpayers? That has nothing to do with us,” Winfield said. Supporters also note that colleges in Providence are voluntarily making payments in lieu of taxes to the city….

Janitorial Mess – Portland State University awarded a sole-source contract to a troubled company

Source: Nigel Jaquiss, Willamette Week, June 26, 2013

Portland State University signed a $1.5 million no-bid contract earlier this year with a company for janitorial work in its dorms. But WW has learned the company, Diversified Abilities Inc., has $34,000 in state tax liens and $341,000 in federal liens for failing to pay employee withholding taxes….

…After awarding the $1.5 million, three-year contract in February 2013, PSU inked another $273,000 janitorial contract with Diversified in May. Diversified’s owner, Ann Toth, says the company employs nearly 100 people. Most do janitorial or landscaping work for public agencies, earning $11 to $13 an hour….

…Toth acknowledges the liens and blames a variety of factors: bidding too low on contracts, slow payments from Portland State, and paying what she claims are overly generous employee benefits. (Gallagher says Toth’s invoices have been incorrect, delaying payment, but PSU honors its contract.)…

…Toth and her husband, David, who she says runs the landscaping portion of their business, have paid themselves well, even though records show their nonprofit has consistently lost money. In 2008, for instance, the company, which is registered as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, had gross revenues of $1.053 million. Ann Toth paid herself a salary of $101,000 and her husband $77,000. For comparison, the Toths paid themselves the same amount that the state’s largest QRF, Portland Habilitation Center, with revenues of $27 million, pays its CEO: $178,000….

Insourcing: Reclaiming Public Control

Source: In the Public Interest, Backgrounder Brief, May 2013

From the abstract:
This backgrounder brief provides examples of cases where, when cost savings aren’t realized or service quality declines, many governmental entities are turning to reverse privatization, or “insourcing,” to bring contracted functions back in-house. It explains the benefits of insourcing for the general public interest and addresses examples from multiple levels of government across a wide array of sectors including corrections, water, IT services, and more. It includes an appendix with more examples.

Frackademia: University of Tennessee Set to Lease Forest For Fracking, Enriching Governor’s Family

Source: Steve Horn, desmogblog.com, June 11, 2013

8,600 acres of the Cumberland Forest
owned by University of Tennessee-Knoxville will be leased off to the oil and gas industry this August in a new form of “frackademia” – and one of the top financial beneficiaries will be the family of Republican Gov. Bill Haslam, who sits on UT-Knoxville’s Board of Trustees

…Fracking could become a major source of revenue for UT-Knoxville during a time of severe budget cuts to the UT System. In 2010, the state government slashed $56 million from the UT-Knoxville budget, following another $75 million in budget cuts in 2009 for the UT System at-large. …

…Gov. Haslam, the former Mayor of Knoxville, took $398,110 from the oil and gas industry before his Nov. 2010 gubernatorial race victory. The Haslam family is an oil and gas family through and through, standing to profit immensely from a fracking boom in Tennessee and nationwide. In 2012, the Haslam family – owners of Pilot Flying J truck fueling stations, a corporation where Bill Haslem used to serve as presidentpurchased Western Petroleum and Maxum Petroleum. …

….The Haslam family is set to cash in on the arrangement, coinciding – perhaps not coincidentially – with ongoing UT System budget cuts. After all, the cuts doled out by Haslam serve as the rationale for the necessity of new revenue streams like fracking on UT-Knoxville’s portion of the Cumberland Forest. A business opportunity, if you will. …

NU regents reject health center privatization plan

Source: Kevin Abourezk, Lincoln Journal Star, June 7, 2013

The University of Nebraska Board of Regents rejected a 36-year contract Friday with Bryan Health to operate and build a new home for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s student health center. Bryan had planned to take over operations of the University Health Center in its current location at 1500 U St. on July 1. Bryan expected to substantially complete construction of a new $14.4 million building by December 2014. On Friday, five of the eight regents voted against the proposal, as well as all four student regents, whose votes don’t count toward the vote total…. No universities in the Big Ten Conference or Big 12 Conference currently have private student health centers, nor do any of UNL’s peer institutions….

…UNL Chancellor Harvey Perlman said the agreement would have allowed the university to avoid the uncertainties of providing health care under new federal guidelines set forth in the Affordable Care Act. It also would have helped UNL stabilize costs imposed on students for health services, he said….

…However, several regents said Friday they were concerned about the process used by UNL officials to seek approval for the plan…
Related:
Board of Regents hires consulting firm to help with health center privatization
Source: Conor Dunnc, Daily Nebraskan, April 4, 2013

The University of Nebraska Board of Regents has hired Deloitte consulting to answer its questions about Chancellor Harvey Perlman’s proposed plan to privatize student health care at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Although the consultant group will work with university administration and health center staff to assess the plan and need for privatization, it will give its final report to the regents, according to Regent Tim Clare. He said he expects the consultant will give its report in late April or early May, in time for the June 17 meeting….Since Perlman presented his privatization plan to the community, health center employees have jumped ship, seeking employment at other areas around campus to maintain benefits or simply seeking work elsewhere. Roughly a dozen employees have left the health center, including a couple physicians, the lead pharmacist, marketing coordinator and insurance coordinator….

Privatizing UC Instruction

Source: Whitney Phaneuf, East Bay Express, June 5, 2013

If a controversial, and groundbreaking, bill passes the state legislature this summer, many students at UC Berkeley and other University of California campuses won’t be doing some of their basic coursework on campus anymore. As of next year, they also may be enrolled in classes that aren’t taught by UC faculty. Instead, they will be taking classes online, produced by for-profit companies — and getting full college credit for them….But opponents of SB 520, including multiple faculty organizations, argue that it will allow for-profit educational companies to gain access to public colleges and universities that they would not otherwise have, and thereby undermine the quality of higher education in California. In March, The Academic Senate of the University of California released an open letter criticizing the bill’s inclusion of private corporate interests…

Ohio State hires outside companies to clean buildings

Source: Ally Marotti, Lantern, April 22, 2013

Lajuan Foster has spent almost every day from 6 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. for the past nine months cleaning the 18th Avenue Library….But Foster doesn’t work for Ohio State. She works for the janitorial services at Goodwill — a branch of the same company that owns thrift stores….Goodwill is one of four companies to which OSU awarded contracts last fall. The contracts, which were effective Nov. 5, replaced agreements that expired June 30, said Lindsay Komlanc, spokeswoman for Administration and Planning, in an email…. Goodwill’s contract is for $500,000 annually, and it cleans about nine buildings, including the 18th Avenue Library, Independence Hall, the Ice Rink and Ohio Stadium. The other contracted companies include Olympus, which is based in New Jersey, The King’s, which has a headquarters in St. Louis and SBM Management Services, which has a location in Blue Ash, Ohio. None of the four companies returned request for comment Monday. OSU pays Olympus $2.7 million annually to clean about 46 buildings, including Hopkins Hall, Weigel Hall and the Wexner Medical Center. The Kings is paid $1.5 million annually to clean about 15 buildings including Jennings Hall, the Psychology Building and Campbell Hall. SMB is paid $900,000 annually to clean about 36 buildings including the hangars at OSU’s University Airport and Maintenance Building, the Veterinary Hospital and Blankenship Hall….

Ohio State parking privatization hits bumps in year 1

Source: Kaydee Laney, Lantern, April 7, 2013

The parking privatization on Ohio State’s campus has been described as smooth by some university officials, however the first academic year under the transition hasn’t gone off without a hitch.

A deteriorating garage, slower garage entering and exiting, the possibility of higher parking rates and complaints from drivers have plagued CampusParc, which handles the day-to-day operations of university parking.

The transition is the result of the Board of Trustees’ decision to lease OSU’s parking operations to QIC Global Infrastructure last June for a 50-year contract. The $483 million deal with the Australia-based investment company gave it control over operations of campus parking garages, lots and permit sales. CampusParc began managing the day-to-day parking systems in September, and many updates on technology and infrastructure have been planned and carried out since then.
Related:
Ohio State Gets $483 Million Bid for Parking Lease
Source: Richard Pérez-Peña, New York Times, June 4, 2012

Related:
Ohio State Expected to Name Winning Parking Bidder
Caitlin Devitt, Bond Buyer, June 6, 2012
(subscription required)
Ohio State University Issues Parking Privatization RFQ
Source: Caitlin Devitt, Bond Buyer, September 29, 2011
(subscription required)
Ohio Uni taps seven for $375m parking mandate
Source: Gerelyn Terzo, Infrastructure Investor, 11 Nov 2011
The university has shortlisted the likes of Alinda, Carlyle, IFM, Macquarie, Ontario Teachers’, KKR and Queensland Investment Corporation for a proposed 50-year parking lease mandate.
Profs oppose privatized parking / OSU Faculty Council votes against plan
Source: Encarnacion Pyle, Columbus Dispatch, March 9, 2012
Demonstrators denounce plan to privatize parking at OSU
Source: Encarnacion Pyle, Columbus Dispatch, May 02, 2012
Ohio State Students, Employees Protest Privatized Parking
Source: 10tv.com, May 2, 2012


Ohio State seeks to privatize its parking

Source: Associated Press, September 2, 2011

Ohio State University wants to privatize its parking and plans to ask its trustees to let the school invest part of the $375 million in proceeds….Ohio State’s plan, developed with the help of Wall Street investment firm Morgan Stanley and expected to go before the trustees next week, calls for selling parking facilities that bring in roughly $30 million per year. The new owner would run the operation as a for-profit company for as long as 50 years.

Chatham transit ends public-private partnership

Source: Eric Curl, SavannahNow.com, April 2, 2013

When the Chatham Area Transit Authority partnered with French conglomerate Veolia Transportation in July 2010, board members claimed the relationship would open new funding opportunities and improve efficiency. About three years into the five-year contract, the experiment has been brought to a halt. The CAT board voted Thursday to end the partnership and gave Veolia 45 days to transfer management back to the authority.
Chairman Pete Liakakis said Monday the partnership was becoming too expensive, but referred further inquiries to CAT attorney Ty Butler…Calvin Kennedy, CAT employees’ union representative, said a U.S. Department of Labor rule, 13(c), requires that all of the 150 or so employees retain their jobs during the transfer because federal funds were used to purchase the buses….

…Since taking over management duties, Veolia staff has reached out to local universities and businesses to increase ridership and its service area. Some of the efforts have been more successful than others. While the outreach led to a partnership with Savannah State University to provide transportation for its students, efforts to make a similar arrangement with Armstrong Atlantic State University have proven elusive….