The announcement that Los Angeles is about to open the Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools (K-12) on the site of the old Ambassador Hotel came at a price tag of $578 million dollars was shocking to me. This school is considered to be the crème de la crème of “Taj Mahal” schools with deluxe amenities, and architectural panache.
This will be the most expensive public school ever built, from a school district facing a $640 million dollar shortfall. Some of the L.A. schools consistently rank among the nations lowest in academic achievement.
The RFK campus follows two other Los Angeles schools that are among the costliest. The 2008 Edward R. Roybal Learning Center cost $377 million, and the 2009 Visual and Performing Arts High School cost $232 million. All this spending comes from a school district that fired 3,000 teachers in the past two years, and where the academic year and programs have been slashed.
Considering the money the Los Angeles school district spends, it continues to tragically deliver a student drop-out percentage of 50%. This problem is not isolated to the Los Angeles area; it is repeated across the nation in one school district after another.
To say that the American taxpayer is not getting their money’s worth is an understatement. The L.A. situation is nearly criminal. The education of illegal immigrant children and other students enrolled with “English as a second language” only increases the L.A. school operating expenses.
Have the citizens of this once great proud country become so complacent that they just don’t care anymore about fiscal solvency? Do our fellow Americans understand that everything needs to be paid for? What happens when a nearly $600,000,000 school is built by a state is in huge financial trouble? Have our fellow Americans just plain given up, and decided to join the burgeoning ranks of the entitlement/welfare crowd? I’m afraid that the answer to the question keeps getting closer to YES.
This is a perfect example of a school administration and unions operating wantonly with champagne tastes and a total disregard for the beer pocketbooks we have had for the last decade. Shameful and inexcusable is my only conclusion.