The Golden State, or the “Left Coast” as California is known to many who marvel at the state’s many foibles, is once again at the top of the list of idiocies. The most expensive public school ever built in the United States (and probably, the entire world) is set to open in just days in the City of Angels. The price tag for this monument to coddled school children from kindergarten through 12th grade? A mere $578 million! Nearly $600 million to build . . . a school.
With California facing a state budget deficit of more than $19 billion, and the city of Los Angeles itself weighing in with a not-insubstantial deficit of $222 million, one might have expected that cooler, more fiscally responsible heads would have prevailed, and cut back the cost of this latest mega-school by at leasy a few hundred million dollars. But no, not in La La Land, where nothing is too good or too costly for the Children of the Sun.
While their tax-paying parents sweat about how to pay California’s ever-more burdensome taxes, the Little Darlings at the Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools in Los Angeles will be swimming in a huge new pool, enjoying blue-ribbon lunches, walking in their private park, ogling fine art murals, and admiring the LA skyline through large picture windows. Perhaps staring back at the students from outside the marbled walls of RFK School will be some of the 3,000 teachers laid off by Los Angeles city over the past two years because of budget shortfalls.
California, of course, is not alone in seeking to build ever-more expensive and amenities-rich schools; New York, for example, does the same thing. Funny thing though – many of the nation’s most costly public schools are being constructed in districts that are among the poorest performers in terms of student academic achievement. Seems that many of these school districts have concluded it’s more important to make the students comfortable and proud of their surroundings, than it is to equip them to be able to learn and function in the real world.