Tag Archives: Illinois

ICIRR Applauds Crete Vote to Kill Detention Center

Source: Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, Press release, June 12, 2012

Crete, Illinois says NO to CCA!
Source: Florida Immigrant Coalition, CCA Go Away blog, June 12, 2012

Illinois town chosen for detention center
Source: United Press International, May 9, 2012

The U.S. government has selected a town 30 miles south of Chicago as the location for a detention center for illegal immigrants, local officials said.

The proposal by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to build a 788-bed privately operated facility in Crete, Ill. needs approval by the village board, USA Today reported.

Village administrator Tom Durkin said the proposed detention center operated by Corrections Corporation of America is being handled as any other potential economic development project for the town of 8,259.

Caution: Red Light Cameras Ahead

Source: Travis Madsen, Phineas Baxandall, Maryland PIRG Foundation, October 2011

From the press release:
A new research report released today outlines problems with the growing trend among cities to outsource traffic enforcement to red-light and speed camera vendors….The report, titled “Caution: Red Light Cameras Ahead; The Risks of Privatizing Traffic Law Enforcement and How to Protect the Public” finds that approximately half of states have enabled the use of automated traffic law enforcement. Municipalities in these states contract with private companies to provide cameras and issue citations to traffic violators. Citizens have often objected to privatized forms of traffic enforcement and many municipalities have found themselves in legal trouble when they attempt to change or update these contracts. Traffic engineering alternatives, such as lengthening yellow lights, are often the best way to reduce injuries from red-light running. However, those solutions too often get ignored because contractors and sometimes municipalities are more focused on increasing revenue from tickets….
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Ill. bill would set new rules for awarding bus contracts

Source: School Bus Fleet, May 31, 2012

The Illinois General Assembly has passed legislation that would require school districts statewide to consider school bus safety and comfort for passengers before awarding contracts to the lowest bidder. House Bill 4029 includes provisions for contracts related to various aspects of education, including bus service. Under the legislation, school bus contracts must be advertised in the same manner as competitive bids and awarded by first considering the bidder or bidders most able to provide safety and comfort for students, stability of service and other factors that are set forth in the request for proposal regarding quality of service. Then price may be considered.

Question criticized as charter-school ‘propaganda’ pulled from CPS tests

Source: Rosalind Rossi, Chicago Sun Times, May 25, 2012

A national testing company has ash-canned a reading passage that critics say subjected a captive audience of Chicago Public School children to pro-charter-school “brainwashing.”

The Scantron Corporation took action this month after the head of Chicago’s Parents United for Responsible Education demanded the company drop the passage and apologize to what could be thousands of Chicago students she said were forced to read it this school year and last….Written in non-fiction style, with pie charts and bullet points, the passage flatly states that charter schools are “showing improvements in student achievement,” even though several studies point to mixed results. In Chicago, charters have ignited pockets of fierce resistance.

Infrastructure Banks Star in State-Local Test Runs

Source: Neal Peirce, Citiwire.net, May 25, 2012

Stalled in gridlocked Washington, a key idea pushed by President Obama — to create of an infrastructure bank to move our roads, rail and water systems up to competitive world standards — is getting a test run at the city and state level.

In Chicago, Mayor Rahm Emanuel has inaugurated a Chicago Investment Trust, aiming for $7 billion in funding both from government and top private sector investors…To the west, California is beefing up the impact of its 13-year old Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank by putting it in a joint office with key workforce and small business promotion efforts in “GO-Biz” — Gov. Jerry Brown’s Office of Business and Economic Development….But perhaps the most dramatic effort is in New York State, where Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s infrastructure fund and process — dubbed “New York Works” — represents a dramatic turn on dual fronts….

Despite gift-giving, CPS renews vendor contracts

Source: Noreen S. Ahmed-Ullah, Chicago Tribune, May 22, 2012

Less than two months after the resignation of a Chicago Public Schools official accused of accepting improper gifts from the district’s two largest food vendors, the district on Monday said it intends to renew contracts for those vendors, Chartwells-Thompson Hospitality and Preferred Meal Systems. CPS spokeswoman Marielle Sainvilus said there wasn’t enough time to put the contracts out for a competitive bid.

School milk supplier trims costs, keeps lucrative deal
Source: Chris Fusco, Tim Novak and Rosalind Rossi, Chicago Sun Times, May 21, 2012

CPS food services director quits amid reports of improper gifts
Source: Joel Hood, Chicago Tribune, March 28, 2012

CPS food director reportedly accepted gifts from firm she recommended /
2 businesses gave 3 employees at least $86,000 in gifts, investigation says

Source: Joel Hood, Chicago Tribune, March 18, 2012

Schools CEO, mayor want food chief fired / Brizard: Taking gifts from vendors an ‘utter disregard’ of ethics
Source: Joel Hood, Chicago Tribune, March 18, 2012

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Public Schools chief Jean-Claude Brizard on Saturday called for the school district’s food services director to be fired, after an inspector general’s report a day earlier accused Louise Esaian of accepting thousands of dollars in improper gifts from CPS’ two largest food vendors….The report submitted to CPS officials late last week by district Inspector General James Sullivan accuses Esaian and two members of her staff of accepting at least $86,000 in gifts from high-ranking executives at Chartwells-Thompson Hospitality and Preferred Meal Systems, companies that have combined food contracts with CPS in excess of $75 million.

Revenge of the Lunch Ladies

Source: Tom Philpott, Mother Jones, May 4, 2012

… The city of Chicago, steered for years by privatization-happy Democrats Richard Daley and now Rahm Emanuel, has been heading down a similar path. Of the 11 new schools the city has built under a $1 billion program since 2006, 9 have no kitchen facilities and serve food based on what the Unite Here union, which organizes Chicago’s cafeteria workers, calls the “frozen food model.” But the workers fought back–and the famously contentious Mayor Emanuel and his education team blinked. In their contract negotiations with the city, the workers won a five-year moratorium on building any new kitchenless schools or converting old ones over to the heat-and-serve model. …. “We did petitions to parents, we did house visits and phone banks to our coworkers, we did our ‘Let’s Cook!’ rally. And I think it was successful.

City Mulls Several Crossing Guard Staffing Options

Source: Lauren Williamson, Darien Patch, May 4, 2012

What began as a conversation about whether to contract an outside firm for crossing guards morphed into a Police Committee discussion Thursday about other options for handling the role.

City Administrator Bryon Vana said that at Monday’s City Council meeting he will float the idea of asking District 61 assume responsibility for crossing guard employment as one possible alternative.

The city employs three part-time crossing guards at two intersections near District 61 schools, costing the city a shade fewer than $24,000 annually.

The Darien Police Department this week proposed contracting Andy Frain Services to hire, train and supervise crossing guards–not to save money but to help staff the positions more efficiently.

Nonprofit Hospitals Faulted For Stinginess With Charity Care

Source: Jenny Gold, NPR, All Things Considered, April 27, 2012

…Duff, 27, was likely eligible for free care under the Mount Carmel Health System’s financial assistance policy, which offers medical care at no charge for patients earning less than 200 percent of the federal poverty level…. Duff is one of nearly 1,600 people Mount Carmel sued in county court between 2009 and 2011. Most of them were patients like Duff who did not pay their medical bills, though not all were poor….

…Nonprofit hospitals, including Mount Carmel, pay no federal, state or local taxes, giving them a competitive edge over their for-profit counterparts. In return, nonprofits are expected to offer a community benefit, including free and discounted care for low-income patients.

But despite the requirement, a study by the Congressional Budget Office found that on average, not-for-profits provide only slightly more uncompensated care than for-profit hospitals….

…Meanwhile, some states are taking matters into their own hands. In the past year, Illinois has revoked the state tax exemption for three nonprofit hospitals that the state Department of Revenue determined were not doing their share of free care….
5 Ill. hospitals pull requests for tax exemptions
Source: Carla K. Johnson, Associated Press, April 4, 2012
Five Illinois hospitals have withdrawn their applications for tax exemptions, leaving it up to county governments whether to assess taxes on the properties…. The withdrawals from the five hospitals come as Illinois leaders grapple with a 2010 Illinois Supreme Court ruling on hospitals and taxes. The court found that an Urbana hospital wasn’t doing enough charity care to qualify for a property tax exemption. That ruling called into question other hospitals’ tax exemptions….

…Last year, the Illinois Department of Revenue cited the high court’s ruling when denying property tax exemptions to three hospitals: Northwestern Memorial’s Prentice Women’s Hospital in Chicago, Edward Hospital in Naperville and Decatur Memorial Hospital in Decatur. Cook County has moved to tax the Northwestern women’s hospital….

Most N.C. hospitals are slim on charity care / In some of poorest counties, it’s hard to get forgiveness on bills
By Ames Alexander, Joseph Neff and Karen Garloch, Charlotte Observer, April 22, 2012

States scrutinize for-profit colleges

Source: Ben Wieder, Stateline, April 18, 2012

…While some for-profits have attracted federal attention in recent years for higher borrower default rates and questionable marketing practices, states are only more recently taking a harder look at the sector, according to a report released last week by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities.

Jack Conway, Kentucky’s attorney general, is leading a multi-state investigation into the business practices of for-profit colleges. Additionally, he has sued three for-profit colleges in his state, charging violations of consumer protection laws and illegal student recruitment practices. Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan also brought suit against the for-profit Westwood College this January, according to the report. …
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Changing Dynamics in State Oversight of For-Profit Colleges
Source: Thomas L. Harnisch, American Association of State Colleges and Universities, Higher Education Policy Brief, April 2012