How Much Is Too Much To Pay For A School?

Posted:
in PoliticalOutsider edited January 2014
At the former site of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) has built a $578,000,000, K-12, 4200 student school. LAUSD is one of the if not the largest school district in the United States. The opening of this school comes on hard times for the LAUSD. A short fall of $894M from 2009 through 2010 school year. Topped off with pink slips to teachers for the budget shortfall.



Quote:

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.



http://www.extravaganzi.com/robert-f...school-in-usa/



Quote:

All those amenities add up to an enormous price tag, which works out to about $250,000 per pupil. That $578 million cost is more expensive than the Bird's Nest stadium built for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China, which cost $500 million. It's also significantly more expensive than the $400 million home of the Denver Broncos, Invesco Field at Mile High.

Critics say the school is a luxury that the Los Angeles Unified School District cannot afford. The district has a $640 million budget shortfall, and over the past two years, 3,000 teachers have been laid off. The district has even proposed shortening the school year by six days to save money.



http://abcnews.go.com/WN/public-scho...ry?id=11462095





The Ambassador Hotel opened in 1921 and has a storied past as a hot spot for the 20-30's movie star hot spot, the famous Coconut Grove, and as the site where 1968 Presidential Candidate Senator Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated.



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Ambassador_Hotel



How much is too much? \
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Comments

  • camp davidcamp david Posts: 692member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by FineTunes View Post


    How much is too much?



    If the Los Angeles Unified School District and the California voters foolishly approved a $578,000,000 high school that's their problem; I don't really care. What I do care about is that down the road, when California can't pay its bills and wants federal assistance, they can go straight to hell before federal money is used for their subsidy. Let them declare bankruptcy and pay for this crap on their own nickel...
  • nofeernofeer Posts: 2,420member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Camp David View Post


    If the Los Angeles Unified School District and the California voters foolishly approved a $578,000,000 high school that's their problem; I don't really care. What I do care about is that down the road, when California can't pay its bills and wants federal assistance, they can go straight to hell before federal money is used for their subsidy. Let them declare bankruptcy and pay for this crap on their own nickel...



    YO BABY yeah right on----- I don't want my tax dollars paying for their waste
  • john galtjohn galt Posts: 945member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Camp David View Post


    If the Los Angeles Unified School District and the California voters foolishly approved a $578,000,000 high school that's their problem;



    Think again. It will be your problem. Count on it.



    Taxpayers weren't asked when Congress decided to save GM, or Goldman Sachs, or AIG... the money was taken from your earnings, your future earnings, and your progeny's future earnings. Taxpayers weren't asked to save millions of irresponsible homeowners who bought homes they couldn't afford. Taxpayers weren't asked to extend unemployment benefits for people affected by idiotic decisions that led to the collapse of entire businesses, using money that was created out of nothingness.



    The problem is that funds allocated to such debacles doesn't exist now, and can only exist in the future as something far less valuable. This makes the value of your future earnings - through the exchange of your intellectual capital, skills, or labor - worth significantly less. It is through these means that you have become enslaved. For that matter, so have your children, and I'll bet you thought child labor was illegal.



    Do you really think California and the 36 other US states whose budgets are seriously upside down will be left twisting in the wind? To become solvent, they'll have to void union contracts, gut school funding, eliminate state pensions, close fire stations, let roads crumble and their bridges collapse. That's not going to happen. The States are already running to Congress, hat in hand, for money from the few remaining taxpayers and states who have kept their fiscal house in order. But even they don't have enough money. Now what?



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by NOFEER View Post


    YO BABY yeah right on----- I don't want my tax dollars paying for their waste



    Neither do I. But it's coming, and sooner than anyone would like to admit. Get ready to cough up even more.
  • camp davidcamp david Posts: 692member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by john galt View Post


    Think again. It will be your problem. Count on it...



    Perhaps you are right here and I see the handwriting on the wall about California - however these is firm precedent about a state digging ITSELF out of debt less the federal government's handout. CAse in point is New Jersey, Democrat Corzine bankrupted the state and voters canned his ass. Now Gov. Christie is cutting the state's budget and doing so admirably. All California voters need is a chief executive that has more than a 2nd grade education.
  • finetunesfinetunes Posts: 2,065member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Camp David View Post


    If the Los Angeles Unified School District and the California voters foolishly approved a $578,000,000 high school that's their problem; I don't really care.



    Actually, the cost for the school wasn't approved by Los Angeles or California Voters per se. What was approved was a series of bonds to finance renovations, repairs to existing schools and for construction of new schools?no caps. According to LA Times article there was about $20B in available funds.



    Quote:

    In Los Angeles, officials say the new schools were planned long before the economic pinch and are funded by $20 billion in voter-approved bonds that do not affect the educational budget.

    Still, even LA Unified Superintendent Ramon Cortines derided some of the extravagance, noting that donations should have been sought to fund the RFK project's talking benches commemorating the site's history.



    ?http://dailymail.com/News/NationandW...=2&build=cache



    The controversy over the cost of the RFK school complex isn't the first for the LAUSD. The Belmont School project, now the Edward R. Roybal Learning Center that was built on top of a oil field toxic dump site.



    http://www.fulldisclosure.net/belmon..._and_LAUSD.htm



    http://articles.latimes.com/2008/aug...l/me-belmont10



    More on the Roybal:



    Quote:

    After buildings were demolished at the site of the 2,400-student Roybal school, contaminated soil, a methane gas field and an earthquake fault were discovered.

    Over 20 years, the project grew to encompass a dance studio with cushioned maple floors, a modern kitchen with a restaurant-quality pizza oven, a 10-acre park and teacher planning rooms between classrooms.

    The 1,700-student arts school was designed as a landmark, with a stainless steel, postmodernistic tower encircled by a rollercoaster-like swirl, while the RFK site involved 15 years of litigation with historic preservationists and Donald Trump, who wanted to build the world's tallest building there. The wrangling cost $9 million.



    http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/lo...101326629.html



    cost/sq ft of comparison for construction of schools



    http://www.reedconstructiondata.com/...of-educationa/



    High school http://www.reedconstructiondata.com/...s/high-school/



    middle school http://www.reedconstructiondata.com/...ediate-school/



    elementary http://www.reedconstructiondata.com/...entary-school/



    Quote:

    James Sohn, the district's chief facilities executive, said the megaschools were built when global raw material shortages caused costs to skyrocket to an average of $600 per square foot in 2006 and 2007 -- triple the price from 2002. Costs have since eased to $350 per square foot.



    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.



    http://dailymail.com/News/NationandWorld/201008220196
  • nofeernofeer Posts: 2,420member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by john galt View Post


    Think again. It will be your problem. Count on it.



    Taxpayers weren't asked when Congress decided to save GM, or Goldman Sachs, or AIG... the money was taken from your earnings, your future earnings, and your progeny's future earnings. Taxpayers weren't asked to save millions of irresponsible homeowners who bought homes they couldn't afford. Taxpayers weren't asked to extend unemployment benefits for people affected by idiotic decisions that led to the collapse of entire businesses, using money that was created out of nothingness.



    The problem is that funds allocated to such debacles doesn't exist now, and can only exist in the future as something far less valuable. This makes the value of your future earnings - through the exchange of your intellectual capital, skills, or labor - worth significantly less. It is through these means that you have become enslaved. For that matter, so have your children, and I'll bet you thought child labor was illegal.



    Do you really think California and the 36 other US states whose budgets are seriously upside down will be left twisting in the wind? To become solvent, they'll have to void union contracts, gut school funding, eliminate state pensions, close fire stations, let roads crumble and their bridges collapse. That's not going to happen. The States are already running to Congress, hat in hand, for money from the few remaining taxpayers and states who have kept their fiscal house in order. But even they don't have enough money. Now what?







    Neither do I. But it's coming, and sooner than anyone would like to admit. Get ready to cough up even more.



    GREAT POST, SAID VERY WELL

    lets remember INFLATION is a tax just as if the government passed it, they create as well with stupid policies, also they always seem to protect themselves from the hit, COLA, and raises

    but its already done, trillions trillions of junk debt nothing to show for it and WAIT, its coming
  • floorjackfloorjack Posts: 2,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Camp David View Post


    If the Los Angeles Unified School District and the California voters foolishly approved a $578,000,000 high school that's their problem; I don't really care. What I do care about is that down the road, when California can't pay its bills and wants federal assistance, they can go straight to hell before federal money is used for their subsidy. Let them declare bankruptcy and pay for this crap on their own nickel...



    Until they get a Federal Bailout trumped up as "rescuing our cities (or states)"
  • jazzgurujazzguru Posts: 6,435member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by FloorJack View Post


    Until they get a Federal Bailout trumped up as "rescuing our cities (or states)"



    After all, it's for the children.
  • tontontonton Posts: 14,063member
    Far better an inner city school than this!



    CUT MILITARY SPENDING NOW!
  • finetunesfinetunes Posts: 2,065member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by tonton View Post


    Far better an inner city school than this!



    CUT MILITARY SPENDING NOW!



    Off topic.



    What should be considered is that the funds to build the RFK center is bond money which is has to be paid back with interest. Even if this was build in better times, it cost too much. Money would have been better spent to build and repair other schools. LAUSD will have a hard sell for any future school bonds, even if the economy improves.



    It would have been better if the LAUSD had sold the property when times were good and used the funds to build schools near by or in the alternative, sold off the Wilshire side and kept the 7th street side for a school. Wilshire property was at a premium at the time LAUSD acquired the property.
  • tontontonton Posts: 14,063member
    How is it off topic? The topic is excessive, wasteful spending.
  • john galtjohn galt Posts: 945member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by tonton View Post


    How is it off topic?







    The topic is excessive, wasteful spending on a public building.



    If you wish to rant about wasteful spending on unauthorized and unconstitutional military actions, I suggest you start a new topic. I'm sure you'll elicit lots of interest.
  • brbr Posts: 8,252member
    It's fair to say that although this school is incredibly expensive, on the scale of government waste it's rather miniscule and at least it's for education. It's called putting things into perspective. When people bitch about NASA's budget, I become furious because just look at all the fucking wasteful spending elsewhere (again, mostly in the military budget). It's a fucking crime against humanity to target NASA and the other sciences as places to make cuts first.
  • frank777frank777 Posts: 5,694member
    In my experience, waste and corruption in one sector breeds waste and corruption all over the place.



    BR is correct that more money is likely wasted in the military budget. But the military budget is amortized over more than 300 million people. For legislators in one state to okay such an unbelievable expenditure on a single school, there is either gross incompetency or serious corruption (or most likely both) within the legislature and the civil service.



    Tonton and BR, if the left raised its voice over debacles like this, the public would trust them more when debating things like the military budget.



    It's not enough to say "it's for the inner city" or that "it's for education". Anyone paying attention knows that there's a funding problem with K-12 education in North America, and spending the budget for 20 schools buildings on a single "Taj Mahal" campus is stupid and wasteful. It would have been far better to put the money toward creating better teachers across the board.
  • tontontonton Posts: 14,063member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Frank777 View Post


    In my experience, waste and corruption in one sector breeds waste and corruption all over the place.



    Agree

    Quote:

    BR is correct that more money is likely wasted in the military budget. But the military budget is amortized over more than 300 million people. For legislators in one state to okay such an unbelievable expenditure on a single school, there is either gross incompetency or serious corruption (or most likely both) within the legislature and the civil service.



    How many people benefit from the Khan Bani Saad prison? How many people benefit from the unused children's hospital? The ineffective water treatment plant?

    Quote:

    Tonton and BR, if the left raised its voice over debacles like this, the public would trust them more when debating things like the military budget.



    The left is raising its voice over this.

    Quote:

    It's not enough to say "it's for the inner city" or that "it's for education". Anyone paying attention knows that there's a funding problem with K-12 education in North America, and spending the budget for 20 schools buildings on a single "Taj Mahal" campus is stupid and wasteful. It would have been far better to put the money toward creating better teachers across the board.



    Agree.
  • john galtjohn galt Posts: 945member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by BR View Post


    ... at least it's for education.



    That may be a valid argument, if only it were true. It's a building.



    Besides, the topic is "how much is too much". If one is to present the argument that the amount of taxpayer funds allocated toward education is closed to debate, then there can be no limit. $135,000 per student is too much when thousands of public schools routinely get by with tenth as much - often less. So do private schools, who wouldn't survive unless they provided a superior product at a competitive price. Home schooled children do even better.



    So it's "for the children," but what does that mean? They're entitled to the world's most expensive backpacks? The finest locks for their lockers? The most exquisite cafeteria trays? Where do you stop? Chauffeured limousine transportation with armed escorts? How about personal full-time assistants for each pupil (oh, we already have that, if they're "learning disabled"). "For the children" is usually the lament of parents saddled with guilt, since they're both working to pay their exorbitant school taxes. Their mistaken assumption is that the quality of education is commensurate with their tax bill. Such a correlation has yet to become evident.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by BR View Post


    It's called putting things into perspective.



    Agreed, and from my perspective, half a billion for a school with 4260 attendees is too much.
  • frank777frank777 Posts: 5,694member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by tonton View Post


    How many people benefit from the Khan Bani Saad prison? How many people benefit from the unused children's hospital? The ineffective water treatment plant?



    Having lived for awhile in a place where the Americans left infrastructure behind (how nice and vague is that ) I'll venture that it may take awhile, but the Iraqis will eventually occupy and benefit greatly from these things once they fix them up.



    I don't have a big problem with this. I abhor government waste, but as we talked about it is rife across American industry and exceptional in the military/defence sector. But the Americans tore Iraq apart when they invaded, and they had an obligation to rebuild it.



    That's how war works. And those rules must not change. They serve as a deterrent to frivolous offensives.
  • finetunesfinetunes Posts: 2,065member
    Quote:

    Recovery Act school construction bonds provide low-cost borrowing to build and upgrade schools, which is a win-win for communities across the country," said Deputy Treasury Secretary Neal Wolin. "The projects funded with these bonds create jobs today building modern schools to prepare our kids for the global economy of tomorrow.



    Quote:

    2010 Allocations to States of Volume Cap for Qualified School Construction Bonds



    California\t720,058,000



    Quote:

    2010 Allocations to Large Local Educational Agencies of Volume Cap for Qualified School Construction Bonds



    California\tLos Angeles Unified\t290,180,000



    http://www2.ed.gov/news/pressrelease...03172010a.html



    RFK school complex cost more than what California received from the Recovery Act.



    If you missed this, cost / square foot



    Quote:

    The following analysis estimates the cost to build a high school with face brick with concrete block back-up / steel frame using US National Average costs from 2008 RSMeans cost data. Cost Per Sq Ftt$141.94



    Quote:

    The following analysis estimates the cost to build a jr high school with face brick with concrete block back-up / steel frame using US National Average costs from 2008 RSMeans cost data. Cost Per Sq Ftt$147.63



    Quote:

    The following analysis estimates the cost to build an elementary school with face brick with concrete block back-up / steel frame using US National Average costs from 2008 RSMeans cost data. Cost Per Sq Ftt$144.48





    Quote:

    LOS ANGELES

    Elementary>>>>>> Jr. HS>>>>>>High School

    $165.62/sq ft>>>$168.95/sq ft>>>$164.43/sq ft



    http://www.reedconstructiondata.com/...of-educationa/





    Quote:

    James Sohn, the district's chief facilities executive, said the megaschools were built when global raw material shortages caused costs to skyrocket to an average of $600 per square foot in 2006 and 2007 -- triple the price from 2002. Costs have since eased to $350 per square foot.



    @ http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/lo...101326629.html
  • finetunesfinetunes Posts: 2,065member
    The RFK Community Schools at the site of the former Ambassador Hotel now has a website.



    http://rfkcommunityschools.org/
  • finetunesfinetunes Posts: 2,065member
    By CHRISTINA HOAG (AP)



    Quote:

    LOS ANGELES ? The site where Sen. Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated opened Monday as a $578 million complex of public schools for thousands of students after years of disputes over historic preservation.



    "They made it like a museum," said Maria Vilar, mother of a fifth-grader.



    The long-running effort to turn the location into an educational complex involved disputes with conservationists who wanted to save the historic hotel from demolition.



    The Kennedy family opposed efforts to save the hotel pantry where the senator was shot by Sirhan Sirhan. The pantry was disassembled and placed in storage.



    The Ambassador Hotel opened in 1921 and became a focal point of Los Angeles culture. Movie stars and presidents ? from Herbert Hoover to Richard Nixon ? stayed there.







    A new year, a new school complex for L.A. Unified

    The $578-million RFK campus opens on the site of the old Ambassador Hotel.



    Quote:

    The campus, which comprises six independent schools, will unlock its doors to about 3,700 students as a maelstrom of issues buffets the Los Angeles Unified School District, the nation's second-largest school system. The school's delayed Sept. 13 opening is the consequence of budget cuts that shortened the school year, while classes here and in other school systems will be larger because of teacher layoffs.



    Amid the turmoil, the RFK complex is, for the district, a rebuke to those who question its ability to do things right. Like the flagship arts high school downtown, the facility was intended as both school and statement. The school also will provide a critical test case for key district reforms.



    The design also permits community access to the library, the two gyms, the 25-meter pool, playing fields, a broad front lawn and a school auditorium like no other. The intimate, 585-seat house is embellished with a richly textured Moroccan motif of reds, yellows and browns and a dark ceiling illuminated with pinpricks of light like distant stars.



    "The RFK school site will be a beacon," she predicted.



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