‘Some of the most expensive schools are found in low-performing districts’

Posted by: ST on August 23, 2010 at 6:00 pm

Quote of the day from the Associated Press on the mega-millions big (liberal) cities are spending on public schools:

LOS ANGELES – Next month’s opening of the Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools will be auspicious for a reason other than its both storied and infamous history as the former Ambassador Hotel, where the Democratic presidential contender was assassinated in 1968.

With an eye-popping price tag of $578 million, it will mark the inauguration of the nation’s most expensive public school ever.


At RFK, the features include fine art murals and a marble memorial depicting the complex’s namesake, a manicured public park, a state-of-the-art swimming pool and preservation of pieces of the original hotel.

Partly by circumstance and partly by design, the Los Angeles Unified School District has emerged as the mogul of Taj Mahals.

The RFK complex follows on the heels of two other LA schools among the nation’s costliest — the $377 million Edward R. Roybal Learning Center, which opened in 2008, and the $232 million Visual and Performing Arts High School that debuted in 2009.

The pricey schools have come during a sensitive period for the nation’s second-largest school system: Nearly 3,000 teachers have been laid off over the past two years, the academic year and programs have been slashed. The district also faces a $640 million shortfall and some schools persistently rank among the nation’s lowest performing.

Los Angeles is not alone, however, in building big. Some of the most expensive schools are found in low-performing districts — New York City has a $235 million campus; New Brunswick, N.J., opened a $185 million high school in January.

Nationwide, dozens of schools have surpassed $100 million with amenities including atriums, orchestra-pit auditoriums, food courts, even bamboo nooks. The extravagance has led some to wonder where the line should be drawn and whether more money should be spent on teachers.

“Budget shortfalls”? What “budget shortalls”? :-?

Van Helsing sounds off:

Maybe Golden State bureauweenies know something we don’t — such as who will pick up the tab for this lunacy. We now live in a country where people who live within their means are forced to subsidize the lifestyles of those who don’t. Inevitably, responsible states like Texas will have to pay California’s bills. This will happen when a massive bailout is imposed to keep the frivolous spending going, while greedy educrats bleat about teachers losing their jobs.

Not only that, but think about all the jobs lost, and wages and benefits cut in states like California all while luxury “Taj Mahal” schools were/are being built. The “bureauweenies” responsible for this are grossly derelict in their duties as responsible stewards of the people’s money (no surprise there!), and – if not thrown out of office – at the very least should be deeply ashamed and apologetic, but that’s about as likely to happen as Barack Obama admitting he was wrong about the surge in Iraq.

When it’s YOUR money, liberals don’t give a rat’s patootie about costs. Unless we’re talking about funding for the military, of course. But I digress …

And let’s not forget about those who choose not to get health insurance coverage who will be forced to pay a “penalty” ( and if they don’t, possibly face jail time), just so ObamaCare can, in part, be “paid for.”

It’s hard to know whether or not to be amused or disgusted every time I hear local politicians claim that “the money just isn’t there” yet they turn around an demand we spend more. Case in point: I heard on the radio today that the Mecklenburg County Commission (where Charlotte is located) is debating whether or not to use taxpayer dollars to pay for the college educations of … illegal immigrants.

Bbbbbut I thought “the money wasn’t there”?


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15 Responses to “‘Some of the most expensive schools are found in low-performing districts’”


  1. Phineas says:

    What you’re seeing here in LA (and in other big urban school districts) is the inevitable result when voters don’t pay attention to school board elections. Board members use them as stepping stones to higher office and pander to the teacher’s unions to till the soil for future donations. Meanwhile, they can point to a nice, shiny new temple…er… school and crow about all they’ve done for “the children.” (One of the Ultimate Moral Authority cards! Collect them all!) And yet, as a recent LA Times* series shows, for all the neat new buildings, the kids are still getting lousy teachers.

    Great job, LAUSD! :-w

    *(And, yes, I really am shocked the liberal Times published that series. Great work on their part!)

    EDIT: And just think what that $578 million could have done, just distributed over, say, the 50 worst schools in the district. But then the school board wouldn’t have this huge monument to itself.

  2. Splendiferous says:

    Apparently these people have never heard of the adage “You don’t need a Cadillac to deliver newspapers”.

  3. Carlos says:

    But y’all misunderstand the whole thing. It isn’t about getting the kids a top-flight education. We all want that.

    What it’s about is making the teachers, administrators and school boards happy.

    Ya see, just THINKING that it would be nice if the kids really did get an education is enough for lying progressives because it’s the THOUGHT that counts, not some foolish thing like hiring qualified teachers.

    Sheesh. Get real.

  4. Vatar says:

    Off topic – CNN host says leadership in ‘sorry condition’ and inability to ‘protect the American consumer’ is ‘sufficient reason to impeach a president.’ … The “Lou Dobbs Tonight” host placed the blame for the recent salmonella outbreak squarely on President George W. Bush, calling for his impeachment on the June 19 broadcast.

  5. JRob says:

    Actually, Sister, you just need to head down I-77 about 45 minutes to Fairfield County, South Carolina if you want to see a real nightmare. Most expenditures/student and almost worst in the state. That is because out school tax dollars pay for junkets to San Diego for BOARD MEMBERS, keeping incompetent, yet popular, teachers on the pay roll and having a revolving door at the superintendents office. Those are just the surface problems.

  6. Zippy says:

    While our school system ranked #3 in the state this year, there’s so much money being spent on schools that don’t even have a quarter of the graduates that we do. Money squandered? Turf fields in inner city schools that don’t even produce graduates. ugh. It makes me want to scream. My tax dollars are supposed to be effective, not merely make things look good.

  7. Jo says:

    Along with beautiful, ‘state of the art’ buildings, we in South Carolina area also funding that absurb, expensive, unnecessary TERI program where lousy teachers who are eventually promoted to administrators may retire, collect their full retirement benefits and return to ‘work’ making a full salary on top of it all. One such lousy former teacher turned millionaire TERI recipient bought a luxury beach home in Myrtle Beach for $350,000 in addition to his primary residence. But ‘it’s for the children’!!!!!

  8. Will says:

    It’ll be covered with grafitti inside a month.

  9. Zippy says:

    @ Phineas: “…the school board wouldn’t have this huge monument unto itself.”

    @ Carlos: “…because it’s the THOUGHT that counts.”

    That about sums it all up. It’s not about quality it’s about appearances.

  10. Tango says:

    …the HS I attended in L.A. (in the 70s) was built during the depression (in the late 1920s). It was a combination of very old buildings and temporary Quonset Hut structures (temporary since the 1940s). Not a great facility – some crowding, lots of obsolete books and equipment.

    Amazingly, though, almost all of my classmates and I graduated. Not only that, we knew how to read, write, do math, and had a basic understanding of US and World history.

    Go figure! :d

  11. Jon says:

    I see it as a colossal monument to memorialize a failed school system.

  12. MissJean says:

    @JRob and Jo, I heard about the SC buildings this summer. A teacher who’s also a college instructor said she’d never seen such impressive school buildings, but wondered what the education was like.

    @Phineas, you are so right about school boards. I teach at a Michigan public school that was built in 1963. It was remodeled just this summer after a millage renewal (NOT an increase). The school board has always hired superintendents who are careful with their money. Several years ago, teachers took a 10% paycut and there is NO longevity pay or increases for education beyond a master’s degree. We must justify every expenditure we make during the school year, and the custodial/bus garage staff have done amazing work at refurbishing everything from buses to pencil sharpeners. (Transfer students are often perplexed because some of them have never used anything but electric sharpeners.) We have a good graduation rate and a terrific track record for our graduates – not just in attending college but also in advancing in their military careers.

    In contrast, one of my cousins works in New York state and told me about how hard it is to get concessions. Teachers get raises every time they take classes and it’s not unheard-of for a teacher to earn six figures! Meanwhile, some of the buildings are truly rundown.

  13. TexasDoc says:

    Our entire school district budget is 10% of the cost of that high school, and yet they are on the state’s top 10 lists for academic achievement every year since 2000. And our taxes have not increased in three years and we have little or no labor troubles to speak of. Of course, LALAland will never know that kind of good management.