Your Take

Your Take... On the LAUSD Building Boom

Should LAUSD be spending so much money during this recession, especially when it’s threatening to lay off thousands of teachers?

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The voters may want to reconsider where they want their education money spent. With decreasing enrollment this is a good time to continue the 20 to 1 ratio each classroom, into more grades.

I was an itinerant storyteller in LAUSD for five years or so, in about a 100 schools, mostly South District.

The sooner LAUSD is dismantled the better. The easy solution is to mandate all schools not already charter must pick a charter format and change over in three years or less.

I've visited 20 Waldorf charter and private schools and was involved in the first Charter District up north. The bnefits of charter makeovers FAR outweigh any deficits. Most benefits are side effects of massively increased teacher commitment and parent participation. They are far cheaper as well.

Charters, Waldorfs, private are all schools of choice. Your magnificent organization and test scores go out the window when you are required to take all comers.

The episode concerning the LAUSD was not as informative as I had hoped. It did not address the thousands of school children who travel over an hour by bus, daily, to attend a school far from their homes. Nor the fifteen or so school construction projects canceled due to declining enrollment.

There was only a vague comment regarding year-around schools, but not of the quantity (approximately 100 schools) currently in session year-around to accommodate severe over-crowding in these schools. Portable classrooms, often lacking proper ventilation, and placed a distance from the main school building was not mentioned either. A part of the building project is to replace these temporary shacks acting as classrooms.

Bush’s No Child Left Behind initiative promoted what the public said they wanted: neighborhood schools, newer classrooms, higher graduation rates, and smaller class size. The bond measure, passed by California voters, was to address these issues by building more schools.

When the bond was originally offered, I voted against it because I thought it was too much money. But I agree that building more schools was necessary. I think voters need more facts in order to make informed decisions. It is amazing to me that LA County voters seem willing to approve all kinds of projects regardless of cost. Perhaps the $20 billion price tag was too much for the job at hand. We may never know. I firmly believe that voters would make better decisions if the media were armed with facts before presenting this type of “informative” program.

It is crazy to think that LAUSD is going to build buildings instead of building education. Just because they "have the money", when over 8,400 teachers and staff are going to be layoff and the supplies and programs are being cut from the students.

LAUSD should be ashamed of itself to continue on with wasting 20+ billion dollars on a decreasing student population - - check the facts:

Straight from LAUSD web site:
http://www.laschools.org/employee/mpd/fs-mpd/download/analysis_and_reports/Why_LAUSD_Declining_While_LA_Growing.10_9_07.GOLD.pdf


Also check this current information:
http://www.insidesocal.com/schoolnotebook/2008/11/lausd-enrollment-down-barely.html

LAUSD newest wastiful spending will be on South Region High School #15... in which they are building a school for 500 magnet students (not 810 students) at a price tage of $102.8 million... check the facts: http://www.noisesanpedro.org

The school district pays fair market value, which can be argued about successfully, for any property it acquires. It also pays relocation expenses. To say as you did in this show that LAUSD "seized" property is to lie.

I have worked in LAUSD schools since 1995. When the project (the building of new schools) doesn't match the needs, why is it not reconsidered? We have: Two Americas
Two Educations
a book by Paul F Cummins
The building project money and energy is needed to give the kids in public school RIGHT NOW the opportunity to sit in the presence of possibility. They deserve and our country deserves much better. We are sacrificing huge numbers of least a generation of students. WE COULD DO THE RIGHT THING RIGHT NOW! Let's help the existing schools first.

LAUSD has always seemed to take one step forward and two back in the construction and opening of new schools. They appear two steps behind in everything else.

As a former LAUSD contract worker, one of our favorite ha-ha's was to joke about the amount of money we were being over-paid by the district. The real estate and relocation departments make more money than any private local company would ever come close to matching. The managementWhen the local private sector real estate, relocation, and escrow companys were folding and people lost jobs, homes, and their self worth, LAUSD continued to pay top dollar and even give raises by changing job titles to justify the salary increase. Shame on them! More schools with no teachers makes no sense. The over crowded existing schools should bus the students to the under populated schools to fill seats and leave the new schools that are under construction vacant until there are enough students to fill them. If they continue to build, the schools will not have enough students to fill those seats unless they are bused from out of the area anyway so, what's the use?

LAUSD should concentrate more in saving teacher jobs instead of wasting more money. How can schools be build when thousands of teachers are about to be laid off??? If teachers are let go, class size would increase and therefore, students will not get quality time (one-on-one) due to lack of time and too many students for one teacher to handle. Children are our future and we must think first about them. LAUSD needs to get their priority straight that spending money when possible teacher laid offs are a posibility, isn't the way to go at this crucial economic time.