Another L.A. Unified Boondoggle

John Seiler:

Gov. Jerry Brown and the teachers unions (but I repeat myself) are lobbying for $12 billion in tax increases “for the children.” The kids will suffer, supposedly, if massive cuts are made to their schools. (Never mind that hefty teacher pay and pensions could be cut.)

But, where’s the money going now?

There’s yet another scandal in L.A. Unified. The Los Angeles Times reported:

L.A. Unified sues over contamination at new Glassell Park campus

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has been a constant salesman on the topic of public schools, pushing for reforms, helping elect new school board members and raising millions of dollars for local campuses.

But those efforts didn’t stop school board members, including some who were elected with the mayor’s help, from taking City Hall to court over a contaminated campus in Glassell Park.

The Los Angeles Unified School District filed the federal lawsuit earlier this year, alleging that solvents and other hazardous substances at an empty city-owned lot seeped into the soil at a 2,295-seat high school being built next to the Los Angeles River.

The case presents the latest twist in the history of the $239-million project in the Taylor Yard area northeast of downtown….

William Carter, [City Atty. Carmen] Trutanich’s chief deputy, said the city cleaned up its property in 2005. And he disagreed with the notion that the city has responsibility for the district’s remediation work.

“It’s obvious that L.A. Unified understood they were purchasing contaminated property — not to say that it was contaminated by our property,” he said.

So, because the LAUSD picked a contaminated site for a school, the city taxpayers and school taxpayers (the same people) pay for everything: contaminated property, cleanup, lawyers for the city, lawyers for the school.

The California Department of Toxic Substances Control even has a site for the cleanup.

By the way, the school will have 85 classrooms. Hasn’t LAUSD heard that this is a time of devolution and decentralization — of smaller organization units? The current model of massive, factory-style public schools was devised a century ago to mass-produce students who would go on to become mass-production factory workers.

This school boondoggle comes after hundreds of millions of dollars were wasted on the infamous Belmont High School, which was built on a toxic site.

And after an L.A. Times series earlier this year exposed the vast waste in the L.A. Community Colleges’ $5.7 billion construction bond.

If we just cut out all this waste, there would be no problem funding schools — and certainly no need to draw more blood from taxpayers.

May 3, 2011

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  1. George1la
    George1la 25 April, 2012, 20:01

    LAUSD is a wastepit of incompetent ignorant administrators who do not ever follow the law or common sense. Look at Belmont. This school really cost over $1 billion. The district, according to the California Dept. of Education (CDE) website income and outgo information has $2.219 billion in reserves while they say they are broke. Board President Garcia this week stated that there was only $5,400/student. In 2010-11, again according to the CDE website, they had $11,213/student in income. In the same year, according to the CDE website the difference between enrollment and ADA was over 107,000 students who did not show up for school everyday. This cost the district over $1 billion in lost income. You only get paid for those who come to school. In the previous years you have another $3 billion+ for the same reason. In 2001 only 14,500 students did not come everyday. Is this the “REFORM BOARD” or is it the “DEFORM BOARD?”

    Then you have the fact, considering school construction costs, they have blown away over 1/2 of the money. In the Jan. 2008 Office of Public School Construction report on school construction costs, L.A. County was about $280/sq.ft. LAUSD was from $700-1,100/sq.ft. In 2003 the district was stating that they were constructing for between $175-200/sq.ft. and according to the 2003 Strategic Execution Plan (SEP) it was really $218-654/sq.ft. or double money. After I produced my spreadsheet on this in 2003 the SEP eliminated those numbers to this day of: property acquisition, design, construction and other. Other is that which it takes to make a school ready such as desks, computers, gym equipment, labs, printers and such. Now it is only pretty color pictures, no numbers. What are they afraid of???? Totally corrupt.

    LAUSD has over $2,000/student more income than the average Unified School District in California, according to the CDE website, and about $280/student more than the average school district in the U.S., according to the Federal DOE. You don’t hear this from them do you? These are facts not hot air as Board President Monica Garcia, and other district spinners, always put out.

    Monica Garcia needs to be recalled and never elected to another political office again so that she cannot do anymore destruction.

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