Category Archives: Uncategorized

More than 70 foster children missing in Kansas

Source: Jonathan Shorman and Hunter Woodall, Wichita Eagle, October 10, 2017
 
More than 70 foster children are missing in Kansas, the companies running the state’s foster care system said Tuesday.  Lawmakers were concerned that Kansas Department for Children and Families Secretary Phyllis Gilmore appeared unaware that three sisters have been missing from a northeast Kansas foster home since Aug. 26.  Sen. Laura Kelly, D-Topeka, told a child welfare task force meeting that when she raised the missing children with DCF on Tuesday, the agency knew nothing. … KVC Kansas, one of the foster care contractors, said it has 38 missing children. The other company, Saint Francis Community Services, said 36 are missing in its system.  Chad Anderson, chief clinical officer at KVC Kansas, one of the contractors, told a child welfare task force that the number of missing represented about 1 percent of the foster care population and is in line with the national average.  Still, he acknowledged the contractor could do a better job. …

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Park District golf faces day of decision

Source: Dave Reynolds, Peoria Journal Star, September 3, 2017
 
After a summer of community speculation and two impassioned public hearings in the past 10 days, the Peoria Park District Board of Trustees is poised to vote Thursday on whether to proceed with a plan to outsource management of its debt-ridden golf system.  The park district, which reported a $1.03 million deficit in its golf operations in 2016 and projects a similar shortfall this year, says it would save up to $250,000 in 2018 and could realize more than half-a-million dollars in savings over the life of the three-year contract, by outsourcing to GolfVisions Management Inc. … Park district employees who hold those positions would be invited to apply to keep their jobs under GolfVisions.  But the proposal raised concerns because seven of the current employees are represented by one of two unions — the Teamsters or the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. GolfVisions employees are non-union. … 

From Cashable Savings to Public Value: Pricing Program Outcomes in Pay for Success

Source: Jitinder Kohli, Megan Golden, Joe Coletti, Luke Bo’sher, Center for American Progress, September 1, 2015

At the heart of Pay for Success, or PFS—also called social impact bonds—is a government contract in which the government agrees to pay for specific outcomes. It is the fact that the government only pays when social outcomes are achieved that makes the concept especially appealing in tight budgetary times. Likewise, it is the government’s promise to pay when the contracted outcomes are achieved that attracts investors to provide capital to programs that they believe can achieve those outcomes. Two questions that have proven particularly important for every PFS arrangement are: What is the right price for an outcome? And how should government calculate that price? This issue brief provides guidance for government agencies on how to value outcomes.

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Walmart heirs’ foundation advises hedge funds on how to profit from charter schools

Source: Laura Clawson, Daily Kos Labor, March 18, 2015

The “charitable” foundation of the Walmart heirs got together with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation last week to help hedge funds figure out how to profit off of charter schools. Seriously. The event was called “Bonds and Blackboards: Investing in Charter Schools.

With the explicit intent of helping investors “Learn and understand the value of investing in charter schools and best practices for assessing their credit,” the event featured experts on charter school investing from Standard & Poor’s, Piper Jaffray, Bank of America, and Wells Capital Management, among others. […]

It’s a very stable business, very recession resistant, it’s a high demand product. There are 400,000 kids on waiting lists for charter schools … the industry is growing about 12-14% a year,” David Brain, former President and CEO at EPR Properties, told CNBC in 2012.

“It’s a public payer, the state is the payer on this category,” he added in support of the highly safe investing opportunities in charter schools.

Local Pennsylvania Downgrades Lurk

Source: Paul Burton, Bond Buyer, February 27, 2014

New accounting rules that will force municipalities to report net pension liability could trigger credit downgrades in Pennsylvania, according to one pension expert. “There are no funding requirements in connection with these changes. However, credit downgrades are a distinct possibility,” said Richard Dreyfuss, an adjunct fellow at the Manhattan Institute’s Center for State and Local Leadership. …. Dreyfuss’ comments followed a 14-page report on Wednesday from state Auditor General Eugene DePasquale that said 573 Keystone State municipalities are distressed and underfunded by at least $6.7 billion as of the Jan. 1, 2011, valuation date.

Auditor: Tax credits cost Louisiana $3 billion

Source: Marsha Shuler, Advocate, February 28, 2014

Louisiana gave away 55 percent of its corporate tax revenues, while continuing to struggle with higher education funding, retirement system obligations and paying for other government services, Legislative Auditor Daryl Purpera told legislators. Over a five-year period, state government gave up about $3 billion in taxes to encourage companies to come to Louisiana or to stay here, according to a report prepared by Purpera and his financial auditors.

Euclid schools union president says privatization is sticking point in talks

Source: Thomas Ott, Plain Dealer, October 11, 2013

The head of a union representing non-teaching employees says contract negotiations with the Euclid schools are down to one issue: privatization. … Tatonetti said union leaders met recently with Bell and were told that “the board entrusted him to save money, and he sees privatization as a way to do that. His goal is to privatize as much as he can.” The union’s membership was cut in half during the summer when the school board exercised an option to turn over transportation to a private company, First Student. A majority of the 72 transportation workers obtained jobs with the company. …

City of Portland pushes to end protections against outsourcing

Source: Don McIntosh, nwLaborPress.org, September 3, 2013

The City of Portland is pushing to make it easier to outsource the jobs of its union workers. In negotiations with the seven-union 1,600-employee coalition known as the District Council of Trade Unions (DCTU), the City is proposing to eliminate a protection against contracting out that has been in the union collective bargaining agreement since the 1980s. Article 6 of the City’s collective bargaining agreement with DCTU says that the City may not outsource work that is done by bargaining unit members — unless doing so saves taxpayer money. And, crucially, those savings can’t come from paying lower wages and benefits to the workers who do the work. Article 6 also says the City has to notify the unions if it’s considering contracting out, and it says no bargaining unit member will lose employment as a result of contracting out….

City contractor that cheated workers out of $600,000 agrees to pay back wages

Source: DANIEL BEEKMAN / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS, August 7, 2013

A city contractor cheated workers out of nearly $600,000 on a taxpayer-funded affordable-housing project for seniors in Brooklyn, authorities said Wednesday.

Masonry Services Inc. and its owners, James Herrera and Jaime Herrera, have agreed to pay $600,000 in back wages and costs after a probe by state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

8 Ways Privatization Has Brought Pain and Misery to American Life

Source: By Paul Buchheit, Alternet, August 4, 2013

Some of America’s leading news analysts are beginning to recognize the fallacy of the “free market.” Said  Ted Koppel, “We are privatizing ourselves into one disaster after another.”  Fareed Zakaria admitted, “I am a big fan of the free market…But precisely because it is so powerful, in places where it doesn’t work well, it can cause huge distortions.” They’re right. A little analysis reveals that privatization doesn’t seem to work in any of the areas vital to the American public.