Tag Archives: Rhode Island

26 School Custodians Laid Off Pending Privatization

Source: Samantha Turner, North Kingstown Patch, June 26, 2012

The school committee makes big changes to its support staff in an especially contentious meeting Monday night….The North Kingstown School Committee made significant changes to its support staff at a special meeting Monday night, rejecting the arbitrator’s award for the Educational Support Professionals’ contract and laying off its entire custodial staff in anticipation of privatizing the positions…. The committee voted to award a bid to GCA to privatize the district’s custodial department and will plan to award the contract at its meeting Tuesday night. Though the staff got the axe, GCA has made a verbal agreement to hire all of North Kingstown’s current custodians as long as they pass a BCI check. The custodians will be rehired at the company’s “enhanced wage.”…

Durham School Services wins R.I., Minn. contracts

Source: School Bus Fleet, June 7, 2012

…Under a three-year agreement with the Burrillville School Department in Harrisville, R.I., the company will operate 27 home-to-school routes and 34 buses in the district beginning in July for the 2012-13 school year. …
Durham has also partnered with Burnsville-Eagan-Savage Independent School District 191 in Burnsville, Minn., under a new contract, which officials said is the company’s first in the state. … Durham, which has operated in Little Egg Harbor since 1991, provides transportation for Pinelands, Little Egg Harbor, Tuckerton, Bass River and Eagleswood School Districts.

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….
See also:
Summary

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. …
See also:
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

School Bus Company to Implement Anti-Idling Program and Pay Penalties under the Clean Air Act

Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Press Release, April 10, 2012

As part of a settlement for alleged excessive diesel idling in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, Durham School Services will commit to reduce idling from its school bus fleet of 13,900 buses operating in 30 states. The anti-idling project is the result of an EPA New England enforcement action to address excessive school bus idling and reduce school children’s exposure to diesel pollution.

The Top 30 Biggest State Contractors

Source: Stephen Beale, GoLocalProv News, April 06, 2012

State spending on contractors has exploded over the past decade, doubling between fiscal years 2002 and 2012 and consuming more than 13 percent of all personnel costs, a GoLocalProv review of state budget records reveals. Contractor costs are currently estimated at $268 million, $32.5 million over what was budgeted in this fiscal year. Contracting costs for architectural and engineering services have shot up 78.4 percent between what was spent in 2002 and budgeted for 2012. Education contracts have skyrocketed by 154 percent while management and auditing services are up 29 percent….The top 30 contractors identified in a review of more than two thousand contracts account for more than half of that total, at $166.5 million. Nearly half of the top 30 contractors were hired through the Department of Transportation, followed by seven for the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, and six for the Department of Human Services.

Hospital Deals Are Abundant, And Not Always Welcomed

Source: Christopher Chung, Shasha Dai and Beina Xu, Wall Street Journal, March 29, 2011

RegionalCare Hospital Partners, which signed a letter of intent to buy a Rhode Island hospital in February, has made an unsolicited offer to run Cheyenne Regional Medical Center in Wyoming. RegionalCare, backed by Warburg Pincus LLC, is one of several private equity-owned chains seeking to expand….Saint Mary’s Hospital in Waterbury, Conn., spent about five years looking for ways to deal with its capital constraints, as well as the future pressures health-care reform could bring. After an arduous process, it finally found its answer in LHP Hospital Group, which provides capital and expertise to non-profit hospitals and is backed by CCMP Capital Advisors and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board….Cerberus Capital Management LP-owned Steward Health Care System LLC made a $1.1 billion offer to buy troubled Miami-area public hospital operator Jackson Health System, which provides indigent and charity care. Steward didn’t get a response to its non-binding letter of interest to the hospital’s oversight commission, the Public Health Trust.

Battle over money to manage Wyatt jail in R.I. Supreme Court

Source: W. Zachary Malinowski, Journal, Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The firm that formerly managed the troubled Donald W. Wyatt Detention Facility contends that the jail’s governing board owes it nearly $183,000. The legal battle over the money, dating to last spring, has wound its way through Superior Court and has now landed in the state Supreme Court. Last month, the high court issued a stay that gives the Central Falls Detention Facility Corporation, otherwise known as the governing board, time to file an appeal about why the case should not go to arbitration….. Money has been a paramount issue at Wyatt since Immigration and Customs Enforcement removed all of its immigrant detainees — more than 150 prisoners, or 25 percent of the population — at the for-profit jail two years ago. …. The relationship between Avcorr and Wyatt dates to Jan. 1, 2008, when the management firm signed a five-year agreement to run the day-to-day operations at the prison….

…In April 2009, five months after ICE terminated its contract with Wyatt, the CFDFC severed its contract with Avcorr. A few weeks later, Avcorr submitted its bill “for services rendered,” for work it had done at the jail. The itemized bill calls for the following payments:
•Bonus earned for 2008: $162,521
•Monthly fixed fee due for April 2009: $20,020.
•Business expenses incurred in April 2009: $292.

Court papers do not specify who earned the bonus, but other records The Journal has obtained show that the payment would be made to Anthony Ventetuolo Jr., Avcorr’s executive director.

School custodial and maintenance contract prevents possible privatization

Source: By George Morse, EastBayRI.com (RI), 12/3/09 

EAST PROVIDENCE – In a split vote Tuesday night the East Providence City Council approved a new, three-year extension to a collective bargaining agreement with Local 2969 Rhode Island Council 94, AFSCME, AFL-CIO, a unit representing school department custodians and maintenance personnel.

 

….. By the time an agreement was reached, the union’s concessions made them cheaper than private contractor SSC Service Solutions (a bidder for the job) by as much as $117,000 a year. Also, Mr. Barham said that since the school department looked at private groups, parents have “vehemently” opposed having private workers in schools.

Charter school freeze to end

Source: By Jennifer D. Jordan, Providence Journal (RI), Friday, June 20, 2008

A moratorium on opening new charter schools is expected to quietly expire next week, clearing the way for more of the alternative public schools to open in coming years.

There are several charter school proposals before the state Department of Education, but no new schools will open this fall because of a lack of state financing.

Under pressure from teachers’ unions, lawmakers suspended charter school openings in 2004, to determine how effective the 11 existing charter schools were before financing more.