Boeing1970
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CA Budget Crisis And LA Opens $500M+ "School"

Mon Aug 23, 2010 4:54 pm

Los Angeles should be embarrassed.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100822/ap_on_re_us/us_taj_mahal_schools

They probably could have built three or four schools for what they've paid for this architectural statement.

Meanwhile, teachers are getting pink slips.
 
mham001
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RE: CA Budget Crisis And LA Opens $500M+ "School"

Mon Aug 23, 2010 5:34 pm

Everybody knows that throwing money at education will make kids learn mo' better faster. The teacher's union says so.
 
LAXintl
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RE: CA Budget Crisis And LA Opens $500M+ "School"

Mon Aug 23, 2010 5:50 pm

You realize building a school and the CA budget crisis are not connected right?

School construction is from Bond money, that has to be spent, and can only be used on new facilities.

Basically school construction is paid from a piggy bank of voter-approved $20.3 billion bond funds and school operations are paid from another piggy bank of general budgeted funding, so the district isn't laying off teachers to pay for the expensive school.

Anyhow the LAUSD has done an excellent job the last decade with 139 projects that will deliver 180,000 added class rooms seats and replace dozens of campuses dating back to WW2. The new RFK school is sorely needed in a part of town that is very dense and suffers from school crowding.
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Yellowstone
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RE: CA Budget Crisis And LA Opens $500M+ "School"

Mon Aug 23, 2010 6:23 pm

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 2):
You realize building a school and the CA budget crisis are not connected right?

School construction is from Bond money, that has to be spent, and can only be used on new facilities.

Precisely. This is yet another downside of California's overuse of the voter initiative. Improving school facilities sounds great, but if that's the only thing you can spend the pot of money on, you lose a good deal of flexibility. There have even been cases of districts building new schools while their enrollment numbers are falling, simply because they can't spend the money more appropriately.
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mham001
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RE: CA Budget Crisis And LA Opens $500M+ "School"

Mon Aug 23, 2010 6:27 pm

Quoting Yellowstone (Reply 3):
There have even been cases of districts building new schools while their enrollment numbers are falling, simply because they can't spend the money more appropriately.

And thats not waste?
 
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RE: CA Budget Crisis And LA Opens $500M+ "School"

Mon Aug 23, 2010 6:32 pm

Quoting mham001 (Reply 4):
And thats not waste?

Of course it's wasteful, but it's voter-mandated waste -- not school district- or government-mandated waste.

Just wanted to make sure we're getting righteously indignant against the right people.  
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LAXintl
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RE: CA Budget Crisis And LA Opens $500M+ "School"

Mon Aug 23, 2010 6:44 pm

Quoting Yellowstone (Reply 3):
This is yet another downside of California's overuse of the voter initiative.

Actually you don't understand the way it works. This was not a voter initiative.

When government wants to enter into big projects, it often floats bonds. As bonds need to be repaid they are essentially a form of future taxation and require a 2/3 majority voter approval.

In this case dating back to 1997, the LAUSD has floated 5 general obligation bond measures which were approved by voters and called for monies to repair and build new schools, fund IT and technology infrastructure, create new libraries, build early child development centers etc.
Much of the districts infrastructure dated back to WW2 and was in desperate need of repairs while some areas suffered from terrible overcrowding due lack of neighborhood schools.

The cost to pay for the bonds comes out of property owners to a tune of about $5 per month per $100,000 of assessed value.

Quoting Yellowstone (Reply 3):
Improving school facilities sounds great, but if that's the only thing you can spend the pot of money on, you lose a good deal of flexibility.

In fairness having restrictions on the funding use benefits and protects citizens. Imagine if voters decided to spend money on a specific thing like a new neighborhood fire station and the monies went to some total different use, or to the other side of town for a very different use from its specific voter intended use.
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dxing
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RE: CA Budget Crisis And LA Opens $500M+ "School"

Mon Aug 23, 2010 6:44 pm

Quoting Yellowstone (Reply 3):
Precisely. This is yet another downside of California's overuse of the voter initiative. Improving school facilities sounds great, but if that's the only thing you can spend the pot of money on, you lose a good deal of flexibility.

Bond issues are used in many areas of the country to finance school construction. It's not just CA that does it. The problem is that once it is voted down, the school board puts it right back on the next ballot. So its a never ending ballot issue until it finally passes.

Quoting Yellowstone (Reply 3):
There have even been cases of districts building new schools while their enrollment numbers are falling, simply because they can't spend the money more appropriately.

The money could have been used more appropriately, such as renovation of existing properties, bonds usually allow for construction, but don't deliniate what type, but the architecural marvel is the only thing the board (name one) ever seems to have its eyes on.

Given broad band access and lap top computers, how hard wired does a class room really need to be anymore anyway?
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mham001
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RE: CA Budget Crisis And LA Opens $500M+ "School"

Mon Aug 23, 2010 7:36 pm

Quoting Yellowstone (Reply 5):

Of course it's wasteful, but it's voter-mandated waste -- not school district- or government-mandated waste.

Bond measures are local voter mandated though. If that school district floated a bond proposition without actually needing it, there are some questions to be answered.
 
Boeing1970
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RE: CA Budget Crisis And LA Opens $500M+ "School"

Mon Aug 23, 2010 7:38 pm

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 2):
School construction is from Bond money, that has to be spent, and can only be used on new facilities.

First of all, you don't "have" to spend bond money. Second, its the issue of spending this much on one project.

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 2):
Anyhow the LAUSD has done an excellent job the last decade with 139 projects that will deliver 180,000 added class rooms seats and replace dozens of campuses dating back to WW2. The new RFK school is sorely needed in a part of town that is very dense and suffers from school crowding.

It might be sorely needed, but it didn't have to cost anywhere near this – not even half this. While this Taj Mahal is built, thousands of other kids will spend their days in cheap falling apart modular facilities built on what used to be playgrounds.

[Edited 2010-08-23 12:40:25]
 
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RE: CA Budget Crisis And LA Opens $500M+ "School"

Mon Aug 23, 2010 7:53 pm

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 2):
School construction is from Bond money, that has to be spent, and can only be used on new facilities.

Basically school construction is paid from a piggy bank of voter-approved $20.3 billion bond funds and school operations are paid from another piggy bank of general budgeted funding, so the district isn't laying off teachers to pay for the expensive school.

And how are those bonds supposed to be repaid, o wise one? OK, children, can everyone say "Taxes"?

A bond issue is just a way to push off paying till tomorrow what you spent today. It's still money that will have to be paid off by taxpayers, just like the deficit spending in Washington.

To make matters worse, the school is called the Visual and Performing Arts High School. Wonderful - we are naming the boondoggle to inspire students to take up a career in a worthless endeavor. Our country needs engineers, scientists, mathematicians, businessmen, doctors, not hordes of aspiring actors. Of course it is LA...
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RE: CA Budget Crisis And LA Opens $500M+ "School"

Mon Aug 23, 2010 8:05 pm

When you consider that this school campus is for Kindergarten through 12th Grade, $578 million is not as bad as some are trying to make it sound. As noted in the article, construction costs were much higher than originally planned and there was also other issues that had to be taken care of as well.

Did the campus have to be built with all of these architectural flourishes? Perhaps not, but this is L.A., which is home to a number of architecturally significant structures. I am glad that they did preserve some historical aspects of the Ambassador.
 
LAXintl
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RE: CA Budget Crisis And LA Opens $500M+ "School"

Mon Aug 23, 2010 8:05 pm

Quoting Boeing1970 (Reply 10):
First of all, you don't "have" to spend bond money.

Sure you do. The bond measures come with specific usage time frames. As I recall hearing all 139 odd projects needed to be complete by 2013.

I don't know if you know but here in LA we've built about a 18 new fire stations in recent years, all the while something like 10 fire companies are closed on a daily on rolling black outs due staffing budget cuts.
Like the schools these were part of a bond measure approved in 2000, with the work still ongoing.

Quoting Boeing1970 (Reply 10):
It might be sorely needed, but it didn't have to cost anywhere near this - not even half this

You are entitled to this opinion. Maybe it should of, or could of, but then again the planning and approval for this project was many moons ago during a different economic times.

Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 11):
And how are those bonds supposed to be repaid, o wise one? OK, children, can everyone say "Taxes"?

A bond issue is just a way to push off paying till tomorrow what you spent today. It's still money that will have to be paid off by taxpayers, just like the deficit spending in Washington.

Since 1997 there has been property assessment of about $5/month per $100,000 assessed value. (that is what voters voted on at the end of the day- to tax themselves for this)

So No this is not building up a future liability as its being collected now. The assessment ends once enough dollars have been collected for the value of bond plus interest.

[Edited 2010-08-23 13:09:43]
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Boeing1970
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RE: CA Budget Crisis And LA Opens $500M+ "School"

Mon Aug 23, 2010 8:11 pm

Quoting srbmod (Reply 11):
When you consider that this school campus is for Kindergarten through 12th Grade, $578 million is not as bad as some are trying to make it sound. As noted in the article, construction costs were much higher than originally planned and there was also other issues that had to be taken care of as well.

Those "other costs" were pegged at $65 million. Yes, when you build a monument instead of a school, there will be cost overruns.

Quoting srbmod (Reply 11):
Did the campus have to be built with all of these architectural flourishes?

Those are pegged at about $100 million just for the features. Then you have to consider the engineering requirements to support this (I always laugh on the issue of airport "art programs" that cost a mere $5-6 million that ignore $20-30 million it construction costs required for a building to accomdate it). $100+ million that would have been far better spent.

Yes, it’s a big school, but this is a monument to some bloated administrator’s ego. Nothing more and nothing less.


Best quote in the article:

"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," said Ben Austin, executive director of Parent Revolution who sits on the California Board of Education. "Parents aren't fooled."

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 12):
Sure you do. The bond measures come with specific usage time frames. As I recall hearing all 139 odd projects needed to be complete by 2013.

This is exactly why government is in so much trouble financially. They think that because something is there they have to spend it. There’s nothing wrong with being told to spend $1 billion on "X" amount of classroom space and in the end spending $750 million on the same space by being fiscally responsible. But to spend over half a billion on one school? That’s completely absurd, there is no excuse. None at all... EVER!

[Edited 2010-08-23 13:19:43]
 
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DocLightning
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RE: CA Budget Crisis And LA Opens $500M+ "School"

Mon Aug 23, 2010 8:53 pm

Quoting srbmod (Reply 11):
When you consider that this school campus is for Kindergarten through 12th Grade, $578 million is not as bad as some are trying to make it sound.

Yes it is.

An institution this expensive was not necessary. A perfectly adequate school could have been done for 10-20% of the price.

Part of the problem is the laws in place that basically "force" them to waste this money. And it is a waste. How many teachers could have been hired to teach these kids? How many books could have been bought?

Quoting mham001 (Reply 8):

Bond measures are local voter mandated though. If that school district floated a bond proposition without actually needing it, there are some questions to be answered.

Bingo. And furthermore, I cannot imagine that if the project ran significantly under budget, that the voters would be outraged at getting tax credits.
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redflyer
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RE: CA Budget Crisis And LA Opens $500M+ "School"

Mon Aug 23, 2010 10:26 pm

Quoting mham001 (Reply 1):
Everybody knows that throwing money at education will make kids learn mo' better faster. The teacher's union says so.

Throwing money into a black hole will not serve a useful purpose and will not improve results. However, I do believe higher pay based on some type of merit system (meaning a non-union environment) would result in better performance. In many districts we are paying our teachers very little, with the result being that a lot of people that shouldn't be teaching are in fact teaching.

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 2):
The new RFK school is sorely needed in a part of town that is very dense and suffers from school crowding.

No doubt the school is sorely needed, but at this price?

Quoting srbmod (Reply 11):
When you consider that this school campus is for Kindergarten through 12th Grade, $578 million is not as bad as some are trying to make it sound.

It has to be looked at from the perspective of how many student seats that $578 million bought. With a planned-for student body of 4,200, that equates to roughly $138,000 per seat. I wonder how that compares to other recently built facilities around the country?

Quoting srbmod (Reply 11):
I am glad that they did preserve some historical aspects of the Ambassador.

Sorry, I'm not a native (although I did live in S. Cal for about 10 years), but other than the assassination of RFK, what was the hotel famous for?
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RE: CA Budget Crisis And LA Opens $500M+ "School"

Mon Aug 23, 2010 11:19 pm

Quoting redflyer (Reply 16):
It has to be looked at from the perspective of how many student seats that $578 million bought. With a planned-for student body of 4,200, that equates to roughly $138,000 per seat. I wonder how that compares to other recently built facilities around the country?

The traditional rule is 35 square feet per child. Office space is generally calculated at 100 square feet per employee. Let's be generous and split the difference - 67.5 square feet per student.

For 4,200 students, that's 283,500 square feet required.

According to Reed Construction Data, the average construction cost for a school in the LA area is $152 per square foot, Face Brick with Concrete Block Back-up / R/Conc. Frame, including materials, union labor, contractors fees and architect fees. That takes it to $43 million.

That does not include the land, so you'll add a few million for that. Call it $60 million total, school all built, including land and some demolition.

Then you need to add the amenities for the school. Let's add a $200 desk per student, and a school PC for every 5 students, at $1000 per PC, and $100 for a locker for every student. That's $2.1 million.

Call it 20 students per classroom, or 210 classrooms. In addition to the desks, call it $10,000 per classroom for stuff like projectors, blackboards, teachers' desks, bulletin boards and so forth. That's another $2.1 million.

We are up to $64.2 million so far.

Add to that a $10 million budget to set up the library, administrative offices, cafeteria equipment and gym equipment.

There you go - a new school with all-new equipment for 4200 students - Price tag: just under $75 million.

This school cost $578 million. Somebody is laughing their ass off (all the way to the bank), and I would not doubt that many of them are supposedly public servants, and are supposed to represent the interests of the voters.
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ltbewr
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RE: CA Budget Crisis And LA Opens $500M+ "School"

Mon Aug 23, 2010 11:51 pm

Like many public projects, too many local politicans got involved, the idea for this school got started and they couldn't scale it down or back out of it after it got to a certain point continuing to spend more money to finish it. There should be a huge investigation by the Federal Attorney and State AG to figure out who made the decisions or gained too much from this financial disaster. The construction companies involved should have to pay huge fines and be put out of business. For the bureaucrats, they shoud be immediately fired and losses of almost all of their retirement benefits as well as pay massive fines.
 
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RE: CA Budget Crisis And LA Opens $500M+ "School"

Tue Aug 24, 2010 12:09 am

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. A lot of people in this country like to bitch about California and how wacky they perceive the State to be, but this country wouldn't be what it is today if it weren't for California. Flame away if you wish, but California has been absolutely integral to the success of this country.

Quoting Boeing1970 (Thread starter):
They probably could have built three or four schools for what they've paid for this architectural statement.

Did you not see the part about this being a K-12 school. In essence, it is 3 schools (Elementary, Middle/Junior, and High School) in one. It's extremely pricey, but it's not they built just an Elementary or just a High School for that money.

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 2):
You realize building a school and the CA budget crisis are not connected right?

School construction is from Bond money, that has to be spent, and can only be used on new facilities.

  
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Dreadnought
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RE: CA Budget Crisis And LA Opens $500M+ "School"

Tue Aug 24, 2010 12:53 am

Quoting OA412 (Reply 20):
I've said it before, and I'll say it again. A lot of people in this country like to bitch about California and how wacky they perceive the State to be, but this country wouldn't be what it is today if it weren't for California. Flame away if you wish, but California has been absolutely integral to the success of this country.

They gave us the Grateful Dead and fake tits. Whoopee. How does that negate the fact that over the past couple of decades they have bankrupted themselves?

Quoting OA412 (Reply 20):

Did you not see the part about this being a K-12 school. In essence, it is 3 schools (Elementary, Middle/Junior, and High School) in one. It's extremely pricey, but it's not they built just an Elementary or just a High School for that money.

Completely irrelevant. It's a school that cost $137,619.05 per student capacity. I showed in reply 17 how a new, well-equipped school shouldn't cost more than $20,000 per student. It doesn't matter if it's K-12 or just a massive Kindergarten. It's the math that doesn't work.
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RE: CA Budget Crisis And LA Opens $500M+ "School"

Tue Aug 24, 2010 1:51 am

[quote=Dreadnought,reply=21]It's a school that cost $137,619.05 per student capacity. I showed in reply 17 how a new, well-equipped school shouldn't cost more than $20,000 per student. It doesn't matter if it's K-12 or just a massive Kindergarten. It's the math that doesn't work.[/quote


Insane spending. A town next to us just spent about 50 million for a grammer school. Out of control.
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OA412
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RE: CA Budget Crisis And LA Opens $500M+ "School"

Tue Aug 24, 2010 2:10 am

Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 21):
They gave us the Grateful Dead and fake tits. Whoopee.

You sure that this is all that California has done for this country? You're not going to seriously argue that California's shear economic size and economic output has not been unbelievably beneficial to this country are you?

Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 21):
How does that negate the fact that over the past couple of decades they have bankrupted themselves?

Please show me where I said that the one negated the other. In fact, I don't believe that I even touched on this point in my post.

Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 21):
showed in reply 17 how a new, well-equipped school shouldn't cost more than $20,000 per student.

Notice that I'm not saying that this school is not expensive, however I do believe that some of the anger has less to do with the price tag, per se, and more to do with the fact that the school is located in California.
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redflyer
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RE: CA Budget Crisis And LA Opens $500M+ "School"

Tue Aug 24, 2010 2:32 am

Quoting OA412 (Reply 23):
Notice that I'm not saying that this school is not expensive, however I do believe that some of the anger has less to do with the price tag, per se, and more to do with the fact that the school is located in California.

Don't want to jump into your discussion with another member, but I think for most people on this thread, myself included, the anger has nothing to do with California and everything to do with misguided priorities and the lack of strong (meaning not the pandering type of) leadership.
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OA412
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RE: CA Budget Crisis And LA Opens $500M+ "School"

Tue Aug 24, 2010 2:40 am

Quoting redflyer (Reply 24):
Don't want to jump into your discussion with another member, but I think for most people on this thread, myself included, the anger has nothing to do with California and everything to do with misguided priorities and the lack of strong (meaning not the pandering type of) leadership.

I think LAXintl sums up pretty well in reply 2 why this is not about misguided priorities. A lot of the LAUSD infrastructure is old and many of the schools in the area need replacing. Could they have spent less, perhaps, but it's not like they don't need new schools in the area, and education should be among any State's top priorities. As far as pandering leadership in CA, we'll have to agree to disagree on that one as, IMHO, it is for another thread.
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RE: CA Budget Crisis And LA Opens $500M+ "School"

Tue Aug 24, 2010 3:03 am

Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 10):
To make matters worse, the school is called the Visual and Performing Arts High School. Wonderful - we are naming the boondoggle to inspire students to take up a career in a worthless endeavor. Our country needs engineers, scientists, mathematicians, businessmen, doctors, not hordes of aspiring actors. Of course it is LA...

  

I have to agree with you there!

Quoting redflyer (Reply 16):
No doubt the school is sorely needed,

Not really. It's a Visual & Performing Arts school.
They teach kids how to be dancers and rappers.
I had attended a similar school for 5th. grade. It was a total waste for me because I missed out on a year of English and mathematics which hurt me the following year. However I did learn how to do shading, do a few splits and spin on my toes.

Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 21):
They gave us the Grateful Dead and fake tits. Whoopee.

Even worse, Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon.   
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redflyer
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RE: CA Budget Crisis And LA Opens $500M+ "School"

Tue Aug 24, 2010 3:04 am

Quoting OA412 (Reply 25):
Quoting redflyer (Reply 24):
Don't want to jump into your discussion with another member, but I think for most people on this thread, myself included, the anger has nothing to do with California and everything to do with misguided priorities and the lack of strong (meaning not the pandering type of) leadership.

I think LAXintl sums up pretty well in reply 2 why this is not about misguided priorities. A lot of the LAUSD infrastructure is old and many of the schools in the area need replacing. Could they have spent less, perhaps, but it's not like they don't need new schools in the area, and education should be among any State's top priorities.

I don't think we disagree on this point. I currently commute to the S. Ca. area each week on a consulting contract and I see first-hand some of the infrastructure issues (although I see a lot of it is from the current financial state of affairs in this state). Indeed, I don't think there are too many people out there that would argue the point of building a new school - any new school. The issue here seems to be that people are defending a 1/2 BILLION dollar expenditure for ONE school that serves the needs of just 4,200 students. As Dreadnought already pointed out, it appears that the LAUSD spent several times more than is typical for the student body of this school on a per-student basis. THAT is what the issue is. To me, it is akin to the old debate on the B-1 bomber wherein it was revealed back in the mid-1980's that $600 was spent for a simple toilet seat. No one was going to begrudge a B-1 crew's need to sit down on a crapper just before taking out Moscow with a 1 megaton thermonuclear device, but there was no need to spend $600 for that toilet seat as the same one could have been had for a mere $30. Likewise, I will never stand in the way of education, but let's be honest here: that kind of money could have been spread out for the benefit of far more students.

Using simple math, let's inflate Dreadnought's numbers and say the school ended up costing $100 million to build - still an extravagant sum. That would have left $478 million in the coffers. $478 million would have paid for the salaries of 7,967 additional teachers, based on salaries of $60,000/annually (that's the burdened rate). Of course, that's just one year's worth of salaries. It would have paid for the salaries of 1,593 additional teachers for a 5 year period. And if we really want to stretch it out, it would have paid for the salaries of 797 additional teachers over a period of 10 years.

In other words, instead of spending $578 million for one school, the district could have paid $100 million for the school and hired an additional 797 teachers and kept them gainfully employed for the entire lifecycle of one student body from K all the way through grade 12.

To me, that would have been a far more wiser expenditure that would have produced far better results than all this glib talk of how students learn better in an architecturally pleasing environment. While that may be the case, I would bet anyone that smaller class sizes in the same school or even the same district as a result of more teachers would have resulted in far better and definitely far more quantifiable results.

[Edited 2010-08-23 20:07:12]
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LAXintl
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RE: CA Budget Crisis And LA Opens $500M+ "School"

Tue Aug 24, 2010 3:26 am

Quoting redflyer (Reply 27):
In other words, instead of spending $578 million for one school, the district could have paid $100 million for the school and hired an additional 797 teachers and kept them gainfully employed for the entire lifecycle of one student body from K all the way through grade 12.

But you dont get it. The money CANT BE SPENT ON TEACHERS.

The $20.3Bil of bond funds can only go for schools construction. There are a total of 193 projects where this funding was allocated for between 1997 and 2013.

So they built a Taj Mahal. They had the money for it.

If the bond proceeds are not spend the funding is extinguished and who knows in what decade in the future the district will have an opportunity to resume such a broad facility upgrade projects.

Maybe from a 'gut' standpoint, it doesn't seem right, but law set very clear parameters on how the district can use the earmarked money, and cant divert the money for other uses then its intended.

Anyhow, why the crying now? This school did not come into being overnight. Almost 10+ years ago the idea was floated to turn the hotel grounds into a school and in late 2004 the project was approved and added after public hearings, and all types of debates just as the other list of bond masterplan projects.
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RE: CA Budget Crisis And LA Opens $500M+ "School"

Tue Aug 24, 2010 3:35 am

Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 21):
They gave us the Grateful Dead and fake tits. Whoopee.

We also gave you Nixon, the DC-3....among other things.
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RE: CA Budget Crisis And LA Opens $500M+ "School"

Tue Aug 24, 2010 3:51 am

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 28):
So they built a Taj Mahal. They had the money for it.

What is the old saying? Build it and they will come. Who did they build it for, more anchor babies? Give them the bond money, and they will spend it, one way or another. California is not the only one, who blows bond money. 500 million? I bet 500 million in total has not been spent on every public school built in R.I. and Mass. in the last 100 years.
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RE: CA Budget Crisis And LA Opens $500M+ "School"

Tue Aug 24, 2010 3:53 am

Quoting OA412 (Reply 23):
Please show me where I said that the one negated the other. In fact, I don't believe that I even touched on this point in my post.

It sounded like you were making excuses.

Quoting OA412 (Reply 23):
Notice that I'm not saying that this school is not expensive, however I do believe that some of the anger has less to do with the price tag, per se, and more to do with the fact that the school is located in California.

It has nothing to do with California - it has to do with an outrageous misuse of taxpayer funds - and yes, they are taxpayer funds as taxpayers will be retiring those bonds over X years.

Quoting Superfly (Reply 26):
I had attended a similar school for 5th. grade. It was a total waste for me because I missed out on a year of English and mathematics which hurt me the following year. However I did learn how to do shading, do a few splits and spin on my toes.

Oh, God, now I have the image of 'Fly in my head, twirling in a tutu!

Quoting Superfly (Reply 26):

Even worse, Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon.

As I recall, Reagan was from Illinois.

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 28):

But you dont get it. The money CANT BE SPENT ON TEACHERS.

The $20.3Bil of bond funds can only go for schools construction. There are a total of 193 projects where this funding was allocated for between 1997 and 2013.

So they built a Taj Mahal. They had the money for it.

You just don't get it, do you? There is absolutely no difference between such spending and deficit spending at the federal level. Federal bonds are called T-bills - that's the only difference. They are spending money they do not have, financing it with bonds so that the children who will go to that school eventually will have to pay for it.

It's irresponsible, and we should be lynching the politicians who have done this.
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mham001
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RE: CA Budget Crisis And LA Opens $500M+ "School"

Tue Aug 24, 2010 4:09 am

Quoting WarRI1 (Reply 22):
You sure that this is all that California has done for this country? You're not going to seriously argue that California's shear economic size and economic output has not been unbelievably beneficial to this country are you?

Notice that I'm not saying that this school is not expensive, however I do believe that some of the anger has less to do with the price tag, per se, and more to do with the fact that the school is located in California.

Actually, a lot of it is coming from California residents. I am one of them.

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 28):
But you dont get it. The money CANT BE SPENT ON TEACHERS.

The $20.3Bil of bond funds can only go for schools construction. There are a total of 193 projects where this funding was allocated for between 1997 and 2013.

So they built a Taj Mahal. They had the money for it.

If the bond proceeds are not spend the funding is extinguished and who knows in what decade in the future the district will have an opportunity to resume such a broad facility upgrade projects.

No, you don't get it. The fact that it can only be used on construction is fine, how many other schools could have been rebuilt with this money? That list could have easily grown to 200.

If the funds are not used and let expire, don't you think the voters would be more likely to approve another bond later if they knew the money wasn't being spent so extravagantly instead of the spend-it-anyway-you-can-while-you-have-it mindset?
 
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RE: CA Budget Crisis And LA Opens $500M+ "School"

Tue Aug 24, 2010 4:19 am

Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 31):
It sounded like you were making excuses.

I'm sorry that I don't see CA as the root of all evil, but that's how it goes. It's not about making excuses, it's about suggesting that there are two sides to every coin. CA has its problems, and I do not think that anyone has argued otherwise, but I'm merely suggesting that people are very quick to slam anything coming out of CA without ever giving credit where credit is due. We can all be as cynical as we like, but condensing California's contributions to this country into the Grateful Dead and boob jobs misses the point by a few miles.

Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 31):
it has to do with an outrageous misuse of taxpayer funds - and yes, they are taxpayer funds as taxpayers will be retiring those bonds over X years.

This is more a general point, and not specifically directed at you, but why are people on this board, and in the world in general always so up in arms about taxpayer funds that are being paid by taxpayers other than themselves? The bonds were floated, the money had to be used, and a public debate on the use of the funds was conducted. It's not as though they decided all of this in secret.

[Edited 2010-08-23 21:23:18]
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LAXintl
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RE: CA Budget Crisis And LA Opens $500M+ "School"

Tue Aug 24, 2010 4:35 am

Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 31):
It's irresponsible, and we should be lynching the politicians who have done this.

Lynch the voters. We approved it. There were public hearings for this school and just about every other masterplan project.

Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 31):
You just don't get it, do you? There is absolutely no difference between such spending and deficit spending at the federal level. Federal bonds are called T-bills - that's the only difference. They are spending money they do not have, financing it with bonds so that the children who will go to that school eventually will have to pay for it.

This is not deficit spending in any shape of form.

This bond measure is being paid off we speak. The citizens of Los Angeles approved to charge themselves approximately $5/month per $100,000 value back in 1997 and the City has been collecting this money and paying off these construction bonds as they come due.

This is not leaving some burden for the future but being paid off rapidly yearly collections the same manner we voted an approved a $532mil bonds for fire stations and another $600mil for police facility construction a few years back.

Quoting mham001 (Reply 32):
No, you don't get it. The fact that it can only be used on construction is fine, how many other schools could have been rebuilt with this money? That list could have easily grown to 200.

If the funds are not used and let expire, don't you think the voters would be more likely to approve another bond later if they knew the money wasn't being spent so extravagantly instead of the spend-it-anyway-you-can-while-you-have-it mindset?

But they did not want to build 200 schools. As I mentioned way back in reply 12, voters approved 5 separate measures . There was community outreach and hearings and all for these projects. None developed in a black hole.

And no, in todays economy and probably for quite some time I don't believe voters will approve new bond measures. It was fantastic once in a life time opportunity that the city and 2/3 of the electorate came together to make these huge facility investments possible. Sadly it will probably be another 30-50 years before things are touched again.
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RE: CA Budget Crisis And LA Opens $500M+ "School"

Tue Aug 24, 2010 4:44 am

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 28):
But you dont get it. The money CANT BE SPENT ON TEACHERS.

The $20.3Bil of bond funds can only go for schools construction.

I guess I do get it, which is that you (please don't take it personally) don't get it. If the money "CAN'T BE SPENT ON TEACHERS" then perhaps therein lies the problem - your (California) priorities are totally out of whack.

You are making excuses by falling back on legal technicalities. If I were you I'd be furious and would be trying to change those technicalities. So I guess some people were correct (the minority) in this thread by saying that California has its issues - it appears people will fund education, but the wrong part of the overall education structure.

Good luck.
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Superfly
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RE: CA Budget Crisis And LA Opens $500M+ "School"

Tue Aug 24, 2010 4:49 am

Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 31):
Oh, God, now I have the image of 'Fly in my head, twirling in a tutu!

Come to think of it, I am sure our teacher would have loved to put all of us boys in tutus. Looking back, he was very much in the closet but back then, people didn't talk about it.
He was a failed dancer that struck out in New York and ended up teaching kids in Gary, Indiana how to dance.
We did learn how to dance to the Michael Jackson song Thriller, just like in the video.
It was fun and all but didn't help me out in 6th. grade. It's never been a requirement for any other school, university or job.
I went to that school for art. I wanted to design homes and skyscrapers but the art teacher just had us draw fruit baskets and muscle-bound men.   

Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 31):
As I recall, Reagan was from Illinois.

True but it's California's fault for electing him to political office.
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LAXintl
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RE: CA Budget Crisis And LA Opens $500M+ "School"

Tue Aug 24, 2010 5:05 am

Again such bond restrictions are not a California issue.
Government bonds issuance virtually everywhere have heavy strings with their uses. After all its was the voters that approved them for very specific earmark, and the financial markets help underwrite and provide the cash for based on that specific earmark.
Their use for anything but their intended use would get the government entities involved in serious legal issues at the very least.

What would make me furious is, if I found out my additional tax assessments meant for very specific uses were being used for something else. For example if the Fire station bonds here were being used for remodeling City Hall, or cutting grass in a park, or other general funding. This would be ultimate diversion of tax payer funding and not something voters were asked to support.

Btw - you think its shame we are loosing teachers, then float a bond measure or special assessment to retain them. Matter of fact his was done here at the LAUSD earlier this year (a $100 per year parcel tax) and it went down in flames only getting 47.05% of the 2/3 required vote.
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N1120A
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RE: CA Budget Crisis And LA Opens $500M+ "School"

Tue Aug 24, 2010 6:00 am

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 6):
Much of the districts infrastructure dated back to WW2 and was in desperate need of repairs while some areas suffered from terrible overcrowding due lack of neighborhood schools.

Yep. Only now are some improvements happening.

Quoting Boeing1970 (Reply 9):
First of all, you don't "have" to spend bond money.

Actually, yes you do.

Quoting srbmod (Reply 11):

Did the campus have to be built with all of these architectural flourishes?

1) Why not? Shouldn't kids be learning in vivo?

2) I doubt the "flourishes" added significantly, if at all, to the price tag.

Quoting srbmod (Reply 11):
I am glad that they did preserve some historical aspects of the Ambassador.

Not nearly enough. That is actually my biggest beef with the project. They leveled a landmark.

Quoting srbmod (Reply 11):
Perhaps not, but this is L.A., which is home to a number of architecturally significant structures.

You are correct. Unfortunately, others in this have no idea.

Quoting Boeing1970 (Reply 13):
Those "other costs" were pegged at $65 million. Yes, when you build a monument instead of a school, there will be cost overruns.

There were significant additional costs stemming from the fact that they were leveling an historical building and had to preserve parts of it.

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 14):

An institution this expensive was not necessary. A perfectly adequate school could have been done for 10-20% of the price.

Depends on the circumstances.

Quoting OA412 (Reply 20):
I've said it before, and I'll say it again. A lot of people in this country like to bitch about California and how wacky they perceive the State to be, but this country wouldn't be what it is today if it weren't for California. Flame away if you wish, but California has been absolutely integral to the success of this country.

Hey, they keep spending our money happily. All this right-wing screaming about redistribution of wealth, but I bet they won't return our money the feds give them.

Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 21):
I showed in reply 17 how a new, well-equipped school shouldn't cost more than $20,000 per student.

And you didn't show any real evidence of that, or any specific knowledge of this project.

Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 21):
fake tits.

From Texas. Invented at Baylor.

Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 21):
How does that negate the fact that over the past couple of decades they have bankrupted themselves?

You forgot the part about us basically underwriting half this country.
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Superfly
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RE: CA Budget Crisis And LA Opens $500M+ "School"

Tue Aug 24, 2010 6:31 am

Quoting N1120A (Reply 38):
Quoting srbmod (Reply 11):
Perhaps not, but this is L.A., which is home to a number of architecturally significant structures.

You are correct. Unfortunately, others in this have no idea.

Yep, like this one.  
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MAH4546
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RE: CA Budget Crisis And LA Opens $500M+ "School"

Tue Aug 24, 2010 6:50 am

Quoting Boeing1970 (Thread starter):
They probably could have built three or four schools for what they've paid for this architectural statement.

It's a 4,200 student school that houses fourteen grades. That is like building 3 to 4 schools.
a.
 
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RE: CA Budget Crisis And LA Opens $500M+ "School"

Tue Aug 24, 2010 7:19 am

Quoting MAH4546 (Reply 40):
It's a 4,200 student school that houses fourteen grades. That is like building 3 to 4 schools.

3 to 4 schools that will teach absolutely nothing but how to dance, act and rap.
LA already has a visual & performing arts school.
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RE: CA Budget Crisis And LA Opens $500M+ "School"

Tue Aug 24, 2010 8:06 am

Guys, where are you getting your info that the entire complex houses nothing but a performing arts school? Per the school's website, it is actually 6 schools on one large campus, only two of which are visual and performing arts schools (and only high schools at that). The other 4 schools are divided between two K-12 schools, one K-5 school, and one 6-12 school, all of which are more traditional schools (technically pilot schools) with certain benefits not available at other schools.
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cws818
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RE: CA Budget Crisis And LA Opens $500M+ "School"

Tue Aug 24, 2010 12:17 pm

Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 19):

Quoting OA412 (Reply 20):
I've said it before, and I'll say it again. A lot of people in this country like to bitch about California and how wacky they perceive the State to be, but this country wouldn't be what it is today if it weren't for California. Flame away if you wish, but California has been absolutely integral to the success of this country.

They gave us the Grateful Dead and fake tits. Whoopee. How does that negate the fact that over the past couple of decades they have bankrupted themselves?

Out of sheer curiosity, Dreadnought, what has Kentucky given us recently (aside from Sen. McConnell's droopy jowls)?
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Boeing1970
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RE: CA Budget Crisis And LA Opens $500M+ "School"

Tue Aug 24, 2010 5:30 pm

Quoting OA412 (Reply 18):
Did you not see the part about this being a K-12 school. In essence, it is 3 schools (Elementary, Middle/Junior, and High School) in one. It's extremely pricey, but it's not they built just an Elementary or just a High School for that money.

Yes, the whole planet saw that.

Quoting OA412 (Reply 21):
Notice that I'm not saying that this school is not expensive, however I do believe that some of the anger has less to do with the price tag, per se, and more to do with the fact that the school is located in California.

   I already made it clear that the money could have been spent at other schools where students are occupying modular buildings.

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 26):
The $20.3Bil of bond funds can only go for schools construction. There are a total of 193 projects where this funding was allocated for between 1997 and 2013.



   And how many kids are in trailers at other schools vs a permanent structure? You have that kind of money, you start looking at ways to expand the number of projects - you don't blow half a billion on one project. There isn't a single school in the LA school district that can't use several million in improvements - include replacing trailers like this:

http://www.laschools.org/project-sta...proj-image?project_number=56.43027

With permanent classrooms.

Quoting N1120A (Reply 36):
There were significant additional costs stemming from the fact that they were leveling an historical building and had to preserve parts of it.

And that was the $65 million I mentioned. It also included environmental remediation. So where did the other $520 million go?

Quoting N1120A (Reply 36):
Actually, yes you do.

Actually, no you don't. You budget, you build, if you have money left, you return what is left.

Quoting MAH4546 (Reply 38):
It's a 4,200 student school that houses fourteen grades. That is like building 3 to 4 schools.

No, its not. A typical public high school in California in a major city has about 2,000 students.

Quit making excuses for this absurd extravagance.

Quoting OA412 (Reply 40):
Guys, where are you getting your info that the entire complex houses nothing but a performing arts school? Per the school's website, it is actually 6 schools on one large campus, only two of which are visual and performing arts schools (and only high schools at that). The other 4 schools are divided between two K-12 schools, one K-5 school, and one 6-12 school, all of which are more traditional schools (technically pilot schools) with certain benefits not available at other schools.

Its one school. K-12. The other schools in the article are in different places with their own nut bag price tags. From the article:

The K-12 complex to house 4,200 students has raised eyebrows across the country as the creme de la creme of "Taj Mahal" schools, $100 million-plus campuses boasting both architectural panache and deluxe amenities.

and:

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.


People have one thing right. No one will ever vote for this kind of program ever again. $1.2 billion for just three schools is absurd. Period.

[Edited 2010-08-24 10:53:03]
 
PPVRA
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RE: CA Budget Crisis And LA Opens $500M+ "School"

Tue Aug 24, 2010 7:32 pm

Quoting OA412 (Reply 18):
I've said it before, and I'll say it again. A lot of people in this country like to bitch about California and how wacky they perceive the State to be, but this country wouldn't be what it is today if it weren't for California. Flame away if you wish, but California has been absolutely integral to the success of this country.

Subsidies merely distort things, they don't create anything. California has massively subsidized education to attract the best and brightest professors and students who go after them and often stay in the state, but they often come from all over the country (and the world). Without these subsidies, all these people would not have moved to California! Some, yes, but certainly not all. We would probably have--get this--a much better distribution of wealth across the country.

Quoting cws818 (Reply 27):
We also gave you Nixon, the DC-3....among other things.

So what happened? Why isn't California popping out such great planes like the DC-3 anymore? Sure, Boeing bought out McD, but that means they own the former McD installations in California, which means they have a great place to put the second 787 line. No way they even think about going to some state on the other side of the country with little aviation manufacturing, right?

Here's what happened: all those taxes to subsidize education and labor regulations that on paper boosted productivity? Sounded like a great plan, no? Well, once again: there is no such thing as a free lunch.
"If goods do not cross borders, soldiers will" - Frederic Bastiat
 
BMI727
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RE: CA Budget Crisis And LA Opens $500M+ "School"

Tue Aug 24, 2010 7:49 pm

Quoting Superfly (Reply 39):
3 to 4 schools that will teach absolutely nothing but how to dance, act and rap.
LA already has a visual & performing arts school.

I'm not a big arts person, but I don't mind such schools. The point is to give students tools for the future, and if that future is singing or whatever, then prepare them for that.

Quoting cws818 (Reply 41):
Out of sheer curiosity, Dreadnought, what has Kentucky given us recently

A large untapped market for dentists?
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NorthstarBoy
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RE: CA Budget Crisis And LA Opens $500M+ "School"

Tue Aug 24, 2010 8:44 pm

Quoting Boeing1970 (Reply 13):
This is exactly why government is in so much trouble financially. They think that because something is there they have to spend it. There’s nothing wrong with being told to spend $1 billion on "X" amount of classroom space and in the end spending $750 million on the same space by being fiscally responsible. But to spend over half a billion on one school? That’s completely absurd, there is no excuse. None at all... EVER!

The problem with your logic is if an entity is allocated 1bn and they spend 750 million, then the following fiscal year, because they only spent 750 million, they'll only be allocated 750 million which leaves the entity no slush for unexpected expenses that may come up that haven't been previously budgeted for. OTOH, by spending the entire billion, then they receive a billion for the next fiscal year. Whether we like it or not, that's the way government works and until the allocation process changes, there's no incentive for an entity to be fiscally responsible.

Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 10):
To make matters worse, the school is called the Visual and Performing Arts High School. Wonderful - we are naming the boondoggle to inspire students to take up a career in a worthless endeavor. Our country needs engineers, scientists, mathematicians, businessmen, doctors, not hordes of aspiring actors. Of course it is LA...

I would hardly call entertainment worthless and consider the alternative, the kid grows up on the streets and perpetrates a vicious cycle of poverty, crime, and occupying a jail cell. I'd rather have kids taught a skill for which society at large will pay a lot of money than have them spend their lives working at minimum wage jobs, living in government supported housing and making ends meet with welfare. Our country may need engineers, scientists, etc, but there are already plenty of them growing up in suburbia. Better to give these kids a chance at a decent career than falsely get their hopes up that they can compete academically against kids from wealthier families and neighborhoods who attend better schools with more resources who can afford to go to the universities that will train them in the disciplines you reference.

Quoting Boeing1970 (Reply 13):
"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," said Ben Austin, executive director of Parent Revolution who sits on the California Board of Education. "Parents aren't fooled."

So the probably white, middle to upper middle class parent sitting on the board of education is blaming the school district rather than the parents of the mostly minority, lower income students who populate the district. A fifty percent dropout rate means that by the time the kids have reached 16, the age at which one can legally drop out, 50 percent of the parents have basically given up on trying to convince/force their kids to stay in school and get a degree. As much as i'm against the notion of helicopter parents, he'd be better off to spend his time trying to push the parents of those low income students to exert more control over their kids. Rather than blaming the district, he needs to lay the blame where it belongs, at the feet of the parents who just dont give a sh*t how their kids turn out, the district does their best, but without the support of the parents, they're not going to get far. The district can only fight the 50 percent of the battle that occurs during the school day, the other half of the battle has to be fought at home, and if the parents aren't willing to fight the battle, it's hardly the district's fault.
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Mir
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RE: CA Budget Crisis And LA Opens $500M+ "School"

Tue Aug 24, 2010 11:26 pm

Quoting NorthstarBoy (Reply 45):
Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 10):
To make matters worse, the school is called the Visual and Performing Arts High School. Wonderful - we are naming the boondoggle to inspire students to take up a career in a worthless endeavor. Our country needs engineers, scientists, mathematicians, businessmen, doctors, not hordes of aspiring actors. Of course it is LA...

I would hardly call entertainment worthless and consider the alternative, the kid grows up on the streets and perpetrates a vicious cycle of poverty, crime, and occupying a jail cell. I'd rather have kids taught a skill for which society at large will pay a lot of money than have them spend their lives working at minimum wage jobs, living in government supported housing and making ends meet with welfare. Our country may need engineers, scientists, etc, but there are already plenty of them growing up in suburbia. Better to give these kids a chance at a decent career than falsely get their hopes up that they can compete academically against kids from wealthier families and neighborhoods who attend better schools with more resources who can afford to go to the universities that will train them in the disciplines you reference.

   You can't have a tourism industry without stuff that people want to actually see, a very large part of which is art. Yeah, we need engineers and scientists and businessmen, but you've got to have some artists as well, otherwise your society starts turning bland and boring in a hurry.

-Mir
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WarRI1
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RE: CA Budget Crisis And LA Opens $500M+ "School"

Wed Aug 25, 2010 12:12 am

Quoting mham001 (Reply 30):
Quoting WarRI1 (Reply 22):
You sure that this is all that California has done for this country? You're not going to seriously argue that California's shear economic size and economic output has not been unbelievably beneficial to this country are you?

Notice that I'm not saying that this school is not expensive, however I do believe that some of the anger has less to do with the price tag, per se, and more to do with the fact that the school is located in California.

Actually, a lot of it is coming from California residents. I am one of them.

Incorrectly attributed to me. Not my reply. I do not know how that happens.
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Superfly
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RE: CA Budget Crisis And LA Opens $500M+ "School"

Wed Aug 25, 2010 2:55 am

Quoting OA412 (Reply 21):
I do believe that some of the anger has less to do with the price tag, per se, and more to do with the fact that the school is located in California.

Keep in mind, I lived in California most of my life and I have no anger against the state. It is sure as hell beats living in Kentucky!   

Quoting Boeing1970 (Reply 42):
A typical public high school in California in a major city has about 2,000 students.

My high school in (Pasadena High School) had 4,200 students.
...and I bet my high school can kick your high school's arse!   

Quoting Boeing1970 (Reply 42):
People have one thing right. No one will ever vote for this kind of program ever again. $1.2 billion for just three schools is absurd. Period.

I'm not so sure about that. All the proponents of the next ballot measure have to do is claim that it's 'for the children' and it wins overewhelmingly.

Quoting PPVRA (Reply 43):
Here's what happened: all those taxes to subsidize education and labor regulations that on paper boosted productivity?

  
Incorrect.
The biggest drain on the state's budget is the prisons.
California has about 40 prisons statewide, most of whom are non-violent offenders. To make matters worse, the prison guards are earning up to $200,000 a year. Most in overtime to simply babysit pot-smokers and deadbeat dads.
In the 1990s, politicians in both parties were pounding their chest advocated 3-strikes laws to 'look tough' on crime.
Today we are paying dearly for these prisons.

Quoting NorthstarBoy (Reply 45):
Our country may need engineers, scientists, etc, but there are already plenty of them growing up in suburbia. Better to give these kids a chance at a decent career than falsely get their hopes up that they can compete academically against kids from wealthier families and neighborhoods who attend better schools with more resources who can afford to go to the universities that will train them in the disciplines you reference.

That comment doesn't sit well with me at all.
Correct me if I am wrong, but it reads like you're saying that poor kids from the inner-city will never be able to compete with wealthier kids from the suburbs. Rather than breaking the cycle of poverty and landing a well paying career in demand, continue to be entertainers. Is that what you are saying?
We all know that the entertainment is mostly short-term success and luck.
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Superfly
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RE: CA Budget Crisis And LA Opens $500M+ "School"

Wed Aug 25, 2010 4:49 am

Quoting cws818 (Reply 41):
what has Kentucky given us recently

Kentucky has given us Bourbon as well as Kentucky Fried Chicken.  
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