Tuesday, October 12, 2010

LA Super School

This school really is unbelievable (also from Ed Reform Radar):




     Next Friday, EAGtv will release rare footage of a recently finished Los Angeles superschool that has many local taxpayers fuming.
     The Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools complex boasts talking electronic benches, an absurdly elaborate auditorium, fine art murals, marble monuments, a lavish teachers lounge, and the biggest price tag for a public school in the United States, ever - $578 million.
     EAGtv reporter Theresa Rashid traveled to LA this week to take a look around, and was awestruck by the sheer waste of public dollars that went into the site's construction. Her findings will air on national television October 15 and we'll post the footage of her tour on EAGtv.com the same day.
     The six-school complex is near the center of LA at the site of the former Ambassador Hotel and officially opened to students last month. It's the same location where the 1968 Democratic presidential hopeful was assassinated, and the site of numerous early Golden Globe award ceremonies.
     The uber-expensive complex was funded by a $20 billion school construction bond approved by LA voters over a decade ago. It serves roughly 3,700 students from a nine-block area, translating to an estimated expense of more than $150,000 per pupil.
     To put it in perspective, the facility cost over $200 million more than the Staples Center, which is shared by four professional sports franchises - the NBA's Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers, the NHL's Los Angeles Kings and the WNBA's Los Angeles Sparks.
     But even more frustrating than the actual price of the facility is school leaders' inability to understand a fundamental reality that seems so obvious to those who fund their bad decisions. Parent Revolution Executive Director Ben Austin, who sits on the California Board of Education, put it best in an interview with the Associated Press.
     "New buildings are nice, but when they're run by the same people who've given us a 50 percent dropout rate, they're a big waste of taxpayer money," he said.  "Parents aren't fooled."

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