In addition to the newsletter you’re reading now, ITPI produces a weekly collection of news items called the Privatization Report. That name has become a bit of a misnomer, a legacy label that doesn’t quite describe all that it contains. In 30-40 news items with brief summaries and links to a very broad range of original sources (we are, perhaps, one of the more unexpected subscribers to The Bond Buyer newsletter), the Privatization Report sketches out the far-reaching outlines of the issues with which In the Public Interest concerns itself.
Within privatization fights, the scan, as we internally refer to it, carries stories about:
- the privatization of education through charter schools and vouchers, and campaigns to defend, protect, and expand the reach of truly public education;
- the privatization of water resources;
- the use—and misuse—of public lands;
- infrastructure public/private partnerships—P3s.
Because ITPI believes that there are some things that can only be done—or only be done well—together through government, we cover efforts to adequately fund, and building popular support for a government that works for all of us.
Some highlights excerpted from recent Privatization Reports offer clear examples of what its concerns are:
South Carolina: Another day, another charter school scandal. The State Law Enforcement Division is investigating Palmetto Youth Academy, a former Florence charter school. “According to state law, the school should have closed and given its property back to the district when its charter expired. It requested to stay open during the appeal process, but the S.C. Administrative Law Court denied its request. In a motion filed on Oct. 27, the district asked the court to force Palmetto Youth Academy’s leadership to come to a hearing and explain why they should not be held in contempt of court for violating a court order from Sept. 22 that blocked the school and its leadership from spending or transferring money or property. Since that order, the school has continued to spend money and transfer property, according to John Edward Haas….
Tennessee: Test scores for school voucher students “show participants performed lower than their public school peers during the first year of the program in 2022-23.” But House Minority Caucus Chair John Ray Clemmons, D-Nashville, told The Tennessean in an interview “There’s nothing happening [at the capitol] focused on improving educational outcomes, improving working conditions for teachers, and improving our public schools. Everything education-focused up here is designed to steer taxpayer dollars into private hands, whether it be through the charter school commission overreach, overriding local officials and LEAs, whether it be this voucher program.”
National: A July GAO report says the government needs to exercise tighter regulation of private military housing contracts.…
National: How is the infrastructure act playing out at the local level? So far so good, says the EPA…
Montana: Federal infrastructure funding is not only making new projects possible; it has beneficial side effects on service rates and state and local budgeting. “‘If we had to spread those projects out over a much larger period of time then that would have put our system reliability in a more compromised position,’ Murray said. ‘So this whole expedited time schedule is to everybody’s benefit. We probably couldn’t have taken all of this on because it’s really hard to get all these projects done. But it’s a great thing for our customers that we are getting this completed.’ (…) ‘The ARPA money changed everything,” she said. “It’s important – that’s why we’re here doing this because we care about the people we serve and we want to do the best for them.’”
National: Writing in The American Prospect, Jarod Facundo reports that right wing groups were beaten back in key recent school board elections, but the siltation remains complex…
Pennsylvania: The privatization of water and sewer systems is driving up rates. “The deals provide a short-term cash boost for local governments, which can struggle to cover the cost of aging infrastructure. But critics say the public services and tax savings that governments might provide residents with the quick money don’t make up for the rate hikes, a phenomenon known as ‘taxing through the tap.’ ‘Big Water tells municipal officials, “You’re going to get free money.” ‘That’s a lie. That money is going to be paid for by ratepayers,’ said Bill Ferguson, a cofounder of Keep Water Affordable…
You can subscribe to the Privatization Report here.