Thursday, February 1, 2007


by Gary Babad, reprinted from nyceducationnews list

January 31, 2007 (AP
): Flush with their success in saving $12,000,000 by cutting out numerous school bus routes in New York City, the corporate "turnaround" firm of Alvarez and Marsal has now aimed their sights at a new cost saving target: school lunches. Starting March 1, the traditional "lunch period" will be eliminated from all New York City schools, to be replaced by an as yet undisclosed academic activity period. In announcing the change, Schools Chancellor Joel Klein lauded the new plan, stating that not only would this move eliminate a cost-ineffective program that had never turned a profit, but would add time to the academic day and thus improve test scores.

Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum, as well as numerous parent advocates immediately criticized the planned elimination of the lunch period. In response, Mayor Bloomberg, when reached for comment, held that "Schools are for learning, not for eating". He added that the elimination of lunch would also obviate the necessity of students carrying cell phones to school. "We all know that the only reason parents want their kids to have cell phones is to call and ask what they want for dinner. With no lunch period, they'll be so hungry they won't care what's for dinner."

In a related story, The White House announced today that in a last ditch effort to save Iraq, the Halliburton reconstruction contract would be taken over by Alvarez and Marsal. According to spokesman Tony Snow, "If we can't beat [the insurgents] militarily, we'll cut their transportation and starve them out."

Rumsfeld Named NYC School Bus Chief

February 1, 2007 (GBN News): Stung by criticism of cuts in school bus service, New York City Schools Chancellor Joel Klein announced today that former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld will be the new head of the DOE's embattled Office of Pupil Transportation. Klein cited Rumsfeld's experience in parrying press and public allegations of insufficient planning and resources. The former Defense Secretary's legendary PR abilities were immediately tested. In a press conference, the new transportation chief was asked how he felt about children being denied bus service due to the recent cuts. In a remark eerily reminiscent of a statement he once made about Iraq, Rumsfeld responded, "You go to school with the buses you have, not the buses you'd like to have."

In a related story, Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings announced today that the Education Department will be looking into charges that the recent school bus cuts may be in violation of the No Child Left Behind act. She said in a statement that the Department was responding to reports that hundreds, if not thousands of children were "left behind" in the first two days of the new bus schedules.


  1. evidently alvarez and marsal has found nyc very lucrative. from their web site:
    New York, NY -- Alvarez & Marsal, a leading independent global professional services firm, announced the promotions of several senior professionals in the U.S., Europe and Latin America.
    "Alvarez & Marsal's ability to serve diverse clients and private equity investors across the world is a direct result of the outstanding professionalism, talents and capabilities of our people," said Bryan Marsal, co-CEO of Alvarez & Marsal. "We salute these consummate professionals on their achievements and well-earned promotions."
    The following professionals across the firm have been named managing directors, senior directors and directors respectively:
    New York:
    Managing Directors:
    • Ronald Winters, Alvarez & Marsal Healthcare Industry Group
    • Doug Lambert, Alvarez & Marsal Public Sector Group
    • Gary Holcomb, Alvarez & Marsal Tax Advisory Services
    Senior Directors:
    • Vin Batra, Alvarez & Marsal Corporate Finance Group
    • Jonathan Adelson, Alvarez & Marsal Tax Advisory Services
    • Bill Ling, Alvarez & Marsal Tax Advisory Services
    • David Kirsch, Alvarez & Marsal Turnaround and Restructuring
    • Erin Covington, Alvarez & Marsal Public Sector Group
    • Damien Drab, Alvarez & Marsal Business Consulting
    Erik Wahl, Alvarez & Marsal Real Estate Advisory Services

    Our approach can be summarized in five steps: 
Stabilize. Diagnose. Plan. Facilitate. Lead.
    Stabilize - A&M creates an environment where positive change can take place. From securing adequate liquidity for a turnaround to supplementing or supporting existing management teams, A&M brings stability to companies in crisis.
    Diagnose - Solving complex financial and operational problems requires an objectivity and appreciation that must be obtained from intense scrutiny and review of the business and industry. A&M is highly regarded for its ability to quickly achieve a thorough understanding of the operational and financial challenges and opportunities faced by its clients.
    Plan - Success demands a clear path to results. Working with management of companies at any stage in their lifecycle, A&M develops a strategic plan that addresses challenges and opportunities by building on the core strengths of the company.
    Facilitate – Developing and implementing a restructuring or cost-reduction plan requires the participation and conviction of parties across the organization. Drawing on the leadership strengths of our team, A&M professionals forge consensus around credible, executable solutions.
    Lead - Delivering results depends on leadership capable of executing the strategic plan. A&M helps the existing management team implement the plan successfully, or provides interim leadership where required.

    my translation for their plan:


  2. Funny stuff, Norm.

    But sad too, when you think about it.


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