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Los Angeles Spends $1.2 Billion to Build Three Schools
posted by: Colin | August 23, 2010, 12:47 PM   

Next month, Los Angeles will unveil what some are calling the most expensive public school ever. The RFK Community Schools complex, built on the infamous Ambassador Hotel, where school-namesake Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1968 while campaigning for the Democratic nomination, costs $578 million and will accommodate 4,200 students throughout its six pilot schools.

In 2008, the district opened the $377 million Edward R. Roybal Learning Center and, in 2009, opened the $232 million High School for the Visual and Performing Arts (pictured). The district has also laid off nearly 3,000 teachers over the past two years.

Although the plans for these schools were in place long before the current economic downturn, many are dumbfounded by the news that a school district with a $640 million budget shortfall has spent $1.2 billion to build only three of the 131 schools the district is building to "alleviate overcrowding." However, as teachers are being let go and programs are being cut, one wonders if multimillion-dollar arts schools were the smartest investment for the district.

Some will defend the schools, highlighting that few could have predicted the economic downturn, however food courts, atria, and "bamboo nooks" aren't going to help our children learn to read, write, and multiply. In fact, I'm starting to wonder if the officials behind these "mega-schools" should head back to school and learn some basic arithmetic.

Learn more about the $578 million RFK Community Schools on their website.

Are there benefits to these mega-schools?
What limits should be placed on school construction?

Comment below.

Comments (1)Add Comment
written by jill, VA, August 23, 2010

At $578 million, this school UNDER-whelms me. Yep, under-whelms. Another demonstration that some people just don't get it. Since when does the LOOK of a school demonstrate its quality?

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