It has a ten acre park surrounding it and an Olympic quality swimming pool. You can eat in a dining room dubbed “better than most restaurants” or at a fast food court. Fine art murals hang on the walls with a glass and metal exterior of the finest quality. The auditorium is suitable for the Oscars presentations and was modeled after the famous Coconut Grove nightclub. If you prefer, you can go to the dance studio with its cushioned maple floors for instruction.
Lavish getaway hotel? Expensive spa?
Guess again. It’s the new public school in Los Angeles that cost $578 million dollars in a state that’s more or less bankrupt. L.A. residents … … are beginning to feel the pinch.
They call it the Taj Mahal and at that cost it could be. The kindergarten through 12th grade complex is named after Robert F. Kennedy and will open next month. Enrollment is 4,200 students and costs per student for its construction have been about $135,000 with an enormous overall cost of $250,000 per student. It cost more than China’s Olympic stadium and more than Denver’s Invesco field.
This after the LA district laid off 3,000 teachers and in an area that has a dropout rate of 35% according to the AP and ABC News.
The money was obtained through voter approved bonds. But one wonders if taxpayers across the country will be bailing them out. We probably already are. The recently passed $10 billion Edujobs bill that was passed allocates $1 billion for the LA school district as reported by The Atlanta Journal and Constitution.
We’ve come a long way from the one room schoolhouse. Years ago a co-worker told me of his experiences growing up in Alabama and attending a one room classroom. Somehow, even with teenagers mingling with the elementary aged children, and nothing but desks and hand me down textbooks, pupils managed to get a grasp of the basics that many probably do not have in our public schools today. He went on to become a millionaire and an informed citizen up into his 80s.
Home schoolers seem to do OK, also. The estimated $500 cost per pupil home schooling entails lands those students higher test scores on things like the ACT than our money draining public schools can produce.
And how will the maintenance costs, benefits for employees and possible illegal immigrant school population keep costs down? As one writer put it, “Give me a state of the art teacher over a state of the art building any day.”
If you build a great, expensive school they will come. But will they learn?