Tag Archives: Idaho

With fewer prisoners, Idaho bringing inmates back from out of state

Source: Betsy Z. Russell, The Spokesman-Review, February 10, 2016

Idaho’s state prison population grown has fallen off below projections, and the state will be bringing back all 173 of its inmates who now are being housed in a private prison in Colorado by April, state Corrections Director Kevin Kempf told legislative budget writers this morning. … As a result, the state prisons are reverting $1.2 million back to the state general fund from their budget this year, Kempf said. And Gov. Butch Otter has revised his budget recommendation for next year, dropping it by $2.9 million in state general funds. Originally, the budget had anticipated 200 Idaho inmates being housed out-of-state next year; now, it’s zero.

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Idaho still contracts with CCA to house 208 Idaho inmates at private Colo. lockup
Source: Betsy Z. Russell, Eye on Boise, November 6, 2015

Idaho currently doesn’t have any legal issues with the Corrections Corp. of America, Deputy Attorney General Paul Panther told the Legislative Council today, though the state still has a contract with a CCA-operated private prison in Colorado that’s currently housing 208 Idaho inmates, a contract that allows up to 750 Idaho inmates to be housed there. Idaho ended its contract with CCA last year to operate the state’s largest prison, the Idaho Correctional Center south of Boise, after CCA agreed to pay a $1 million settlement to the state for understaffing the violence-ridden lockup. The state now operates that prison, whose name has been changed to the Idaho State Correctional Center. … Idaho pays $55.17 per day per inmate to CCA, including all medical care costs. Full costs for the fiscal year came to $4.6 million, Higgins said, plus about $20,000 in transportation costs for inmates who had to be returned to Idaho for court hearings. There have been some problems with medical care there, he said, and the state has collected $7,000 in liquidated damages for failure to meet standards.

Law Enforcement Investigations and Actions Regarding For-Profit Colleges

Source: David Halperin, Republic Report, Updated October 9, 2015

This is a list of pending and recent significant federal and state law enforcement investigations of, and actions against, for-profit colleges. It also includes some major investigations and disciplinary actions by the U.S. Department of Education and Department of Defense.  It does not include investigations or disciplinary actions by state education oversight boards.  It also does not include lawsuits prosecuted only by private parties — students, staff, etc. To date, 37 state attorneys general are participating in a joint working group examining for-profit colleges, according to the office of Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway. Many of those are actively investigating specific for-profit colleges in their states.

Lawmakers Look at Ways to Improve State Contract Rules

Source: Rebecca Boone, Associated Press, October 15, 2015

A group of lawmakers looking for ways to improve Idaho’s contract system has pulled together a long list of possibilities, including increased training for contract managers, the creation of new ethics policies and whether agencies should be able to opt out of statewide purchasing agreements. … The committee is examining the state’s contracting system in the wake of several scandals, including an illegally awarded $60 million school broadband contract that was voided by a judge earlier this year. They are tasked with making the system airtight against future scandals, while still keeping it accessible enough to attract the companies that provide paper, gasoline or other goods to state agencies. … Idaho also lacks an ethics commission or any set ethics policies surrounding the contracting process, Burns noted. Jeremy Chou, an attorney and lobbyist who represents several state contract holders and bidders, also urged lawmakers to adopt an ethics policy with guidelines on how to deal with conflicts of interest, the use of confidential information and kickbacks.

Victor may sign trash and recycling contract

Source: Scott Stuntz, Teton Valley News, September 13, 2015

The city of Victor introduced a draft agreement between it and RAD Curbside for both recycling and trash pickup in the city. This comes after Teton County signed an agreement with RAD giving it exclusive rights for trash and recycling pickup in the unincorporated parts of the county—the parts of the county not within any city limits. … The county signed its agreement with RAD Curbside after its previous agreement, a 10-year exclusive contract with Voorhees Sanitation Limited (VSL), expired last year. The Board of County Commissioners began discussing a new contract in 2013, held a work session on the issue last November and then formed a “procurement committee” to further study how to move forward.

Idaho Falls Department To Take Over Swan Valley EMS Services

Source: KPVI News 6, July 14, 2015

On Monday three Bonneville County Commissioners approved a plan to have the Idaho Falls Fire Department take over Swan Valley’s EMS services. Roger Christensen, the Bonneville County Commission Chairman says, “Based on the history and the information, and the need for additional ambulances in the whole area, as an ambulance district, we’re responsible for providing ambulance service in the whole area.” The decision comes as Christensen and board members reviewed the city budget then realizing, “The budget was increasingly enough where we couldn’t sustain that service,” said Christensen. He also said the decision to add a sixth ambulance will tremendously benefit the Idaho Falls department, who receives about 9,000 calls per year. “Almost once a day over the last 180 days, Idaho falls has five ambulances and they run out of ambulances. And there’s several days where they’ve gone through their two or three backups and run out. We’ve got to increase the number of ambulances here in the populated areas.

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Swan Valley EMS merger unknown
Source: Alasyn Zimmerman, Local News 8, July 9, 2015

Bonneville County is still deciding whether to merge Swan Valley and Idaho Falls emergency medical services. Idaho Falls Fire Department presented its proposal in front of the commissioners today, and many Swan Valley residents attended to voice their concerns as well. Idaho Falls said its ultimate goal is to get another ambulance in Idaho Falls. This could happen if it gets Swan Valley’s current budget, in addition to another $233,000 and a 3 percent increase to its existing budget. If the commissioners vote to approve the Idaho Falls proposal, this means Swan Valley will only have one ambulance in their station. Swan Valley is concerned about the level of care in the area. The county is now deciding which proposal is more efficient.

Swan Valley EMS Contract Up In the Air
Source: KPVI News 6, July 6, 2015

The group that currently brings emergency medical services to Swan Valley is now fighting to keep its contract to serve the area. When the Swan Valley Fire Department, which currently has two ambulances, submitted their budget proposal, they were asking for just over $400 thousand dollars to offer emergency medical services for the next three years. The Idaho Falls Fire Department said they would offer their services for $70 thousand dollars less. Now the Swan Valley Fire Department has matched that amount of $335 thousand dollars, but the fate of emergency medical services in that area are still up in the air. KPVI News 6 spoke to members of the Swan Valley Fire Department and Idaho Falls Fire Department, Chief Dave Hanneman. “Our proposal would be to maintain that high level of service that they are getting now, 24 hour paramedic coverage at a reduced cost. That is for the system that can be more cost effective than what is being paid for up there now,” says Idaho Falls Fire Chief, Dave Hanneman. Right now as it stands, Swan Valley provides two ambulances, but Travis Crystal with the Swan Valley Fire Department says if Idaho Falls takes over, there will only be one ambulance within a 45 mile radius.

New state report shows Idaho charter schools strong on academics, but low on poor, minority students

Source: Betsy Z. Russell, Spokesman-Review, Eye on Boise blog, April 30, 2015

…The annual report focuses only on the 35 charter schools under the commission’s purview. Among schools examined is the highly rated Coeur d’Alene Charter Academy, which was named Idaho’s most challenging high school in a Washington Post study released this month. The report found that fewer than 2 percent of the academy’s students qualify for free- or reduced-price school lunch; the Coeur d’Alene School District’s overall rate is 40 percent. The academy also has no special education students or students with limited English proficiency, the report found. ….
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Report touts charters’ academic scores, acknowledges demographic gaps
Source: Kevin Richert, Idaho Education News, April 30, 2015

A new state report praises charter schools for their academic performance — but acknowledges that fewer minority and low-income students attend charters.On Wednesday, Idaho’s Public Charter School Commission released its first-ever annual report on charter schools. The State Board of Education panel is the authorizing body for the vast majority of Idaho’s charter schools; the rest answer to local school boards. The annual report focuses only on the 35 charter schools under the commission’s purview.
Perhaps most telling are the report’s findings on student demographics. Minority students, limited English proficiency, special education and low-income students all “tend to be underrepresented” at the 35 charter schools, according to the report. The commission compared charter schools with their adjacent school districts. Ninety percent of the charters served a lower percentage of non-white students. The results weren’t much different for limited English proficiency students (underserved at 87 percent of charters), students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch (underserved at 77 percent of charters) and special education students (underserved at 55 percent of charters). These demographic gaps were common, in brick-and-mortar charters and Idaho’s seven virtual charter schools. The report takes a closer look at demographics of individual charters — including, for example, one of Idaho’s most highly touted charters. At the Coeur d’Alene Charter Academy — named once again Idaho’s most challenging high school, in a Washington Post study released this month — fewer than 2 percent of students qualify for free-or-reduced priced lunch. More than 40 percent of Coeur d’Alene district students qualify for subsidized school lunch. The academy has no LEP or special education students. There are a few exceptions. For example, Meridian’s Rolling Hills Public Charter School surpasses the West Ada School District’s averages for LEP and special education students and students eligible for free and reduced-price lunch…..


Idaho Public Charter School Commission 2014 Annual Report

Source: Idaho Public Charter School Commission, 2015

OSHA complaints show awful conditions inside private prisons … for the employees / Fire, lead, and vermin are just some of the everyday hazards

Source: Beryl Lipton, MuckRock, January 15, 2014

MuckRock’s September request for complaints made to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) against Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) has so far yielded only four complete responses from OSHA’s ten regional offices. None of them mention interpersonal inmate issues but nonetheless they offer glimpses into what goes on within prison walls…..The largest fine for this group of offenses rang in at $3,675 in Ohio, but as CCA noted in its RFP for another Ohio institution, it makes enough money to cover those, no problem….

STI wins 3 conversion contracts

Source: School Bus Fleet, July 8, 2014

Student Transportation Inc. (STI) has recently completed negotiations for the conversion of three school district transportation systems in Pennsylvania, Vermont and Idaho. The company defines “conversions” as the shift from publicly operated fleets to a contracted model. The three new, long-term contracts will add over 290 vehicles and increase current fiscal year revenues by $11 million annually, according to STI. The contracts all include annual increases, and two of the three customers will be supplying the fuel for their contracts. … While the Pennsylvania and Vermont contracts add to the existing regional density of the company’s operations in those states, the largest of the contracts opens up a new state: Idaho. The West Ada County School District, located just outside Boise in Meridian, Idaho, is the fastest growing and largest school district in the state, according to STI, because recent expansion by technology companies and other businesses in the area has helped spur growth in the region. STI will begin providing service in the 2014-15 school year and, over time, will help the school upgrade its fleet of vehicles….STI previously announced new contract awards for the coming school year in California, Pennsylvania and New York….

School Bus Company Calls It Quits after 58 Years

Source: Ed Glazar, Times-News, July 1, 2014

…Darrel is a partner in the family’s Douglas Transportation Inc., which began transporting Hazelton students to and from school three generations back…. But for Kermit and son Dan, and Jay and stepson Darrell, the school bus routes also have come to an end now. The family signed a pact with Oregon-based Western States Bus Services Inc. earlier this year, selling all 12 of its buses and its contract with the school district. Western States operates school buses on about 70 regular routes for Twin Falls, Filer, Buhl and Xavier Charter School. The company also provides midday, special needs, field trip and activity routes….School budget cuts had lowered profit margins for their bus company, and they saw no future in the transportation contract…. The change in transportation companies will be “like Shelby’s to Walmart.”…

Maximus sued again over Obamacare call center

Source: Audrey Dutton, Idaho Statesman, May 6, 2014

Laid-off employees of a Boise call center are suing the federal subcontractor that runs it, claiming they were led to believe their jobs were not temporary. Maximus Inc. hired hundreds of Idahoans to work at the call center starting last June. Their job was to field questions from health-insurance exchange customers who were buying plans through the Affordable Care Act. … The employees say Maximus led them to believe they were accepting “career” employment that would last through Maximus’s 30-month contract to run call centers.
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Boise call-center workers thought jobs were permanent, lawyer says
Source: Associated Press, February 25, 2014

The coming layoffs of 1,600 people at a Boise call center came as a surprise to a group of nine employees suing the center’s owner over alleged violations of overtime laws. Maximus Inc. says it will lay off most of its Boise workers two months from now because their work — taking calls from customers around the country seeking insurance under the Affordable Care Act — will wind down after the March 31 enrollment deadline. …. The workers sued Maximus in Boise’s U.S. District Court last month, contending they were forced to work unpaid overtime. Maximus has not yet filed a response to the lawsuit. … When the Idaho Department of Labor announced a series of job fairs last summer to recruit employees for the call center, it described the positions in a news release as “up to 1,800 permanent and seasonal customer service representatives and operation support staff for a major call center.” “The employees we spoke to were never told they would be seasonal when they were offered their positions,” Belodoff wrote. …

Healthcare.gov Call Center Workers Sue for Overtime Pay
Source: John Tozzi, Bloomberg, January 30, 2014

If President Obama wants to give the employees of federal contractors a raise, the people working at healthcare.gov’s call centers may be a good place to start. Nine workers at a call center in Boise, Idaho, say they were wrongly denied overtime pay while working 50- or 60-hour weeks and are suing Maximus (MMS), the Reston (Va.) contractor running the 1,800-employee website. … The Maximus employees bringing the latest suit, who worked as trainers and front-line supervisors of the people answering the healthcare.gov hotline, made substantially more than the minimum salary required, in the range of $38,000 to $42,500 annually, according to the complaint….

Maximus employees sue employer over unpaid overtime
Source: Associated Press, January 28, 2014

Employees at a call center for state health insurance exchanges are suing their employer in federal court, saying they were forced to work unpaid overtime. The nine workers who brought the suit against Maximus Inc. say the case could potentially apply to thousands of workers, and they’re asking a judge to award damages exceeding $5 million. Maximus has not yet filed a response. …. The workers say they were wrongly classified as exempt from overtime and required to work up to 60 hours a week in violation of federal law….