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August 24th, 2010
Broke State Builds Most Expensive School Ever



The most expensive public high school in the nation's history has been built in Los Angeles, a $578 million price tag is just what California can handle on the verge of bankruptcy.

The Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools will house 4,200 students from kindergarten through 12th grade. The complex is built on the site of the Ambassador Hotel, where Kennedy was assassinated by Sirhan Sirhan on June 5, 1968.

The facility boasts a state-of-the-art swimming pool, fine art murals, an ornate auditorium suitable for hosting the Oscars, and talking benches... don't forget fine art murals and a marble memorial depicting the complex's namesake, a manicured public park and a faculty dining room that the superintendent says is "better than most restaurants."

It's more Expensive Than China's Olympic Stadium!  By almost $80 million! AND  It's also significantly more expensive than the $400 million home of the Denver Broncos, Invesco Field at Mile High.

The district has a $640 million budget shortfall, and over the past two years, 3,000 teachers have been laid off.

Not to mention  LA Unified is one of the lowest-performing school districts in America. The district has even proposed shortening the school year by six days to save money.

Los Angeles school district officials say the money for school construction comes from voter-approved bonds, an account that is totally separate from what is budgeted for textbooks and teachers.
The superintendent confessed he's embarrassed by the price tag of the project. "Yes," he said, "it bothers me." He insists the project was commissioned by shool officials years ago, in a different economic climate.  "The money can only be spent for that building," LAUSD Superintendent Ramon Cortines said. "That's what the voters said."

"Welcome to the Alice in Wonderland world of education politics in Los Angeles," said Ben Austin, executive director of Parent Revolution. "Up is down, down is up, and none of these decisions has anything to do with kids. 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,”




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