A Learning Experience Like None Other: Los Angeles Opens its $350 Million High School

Los Angeles has now officially opened its $350 million downtown high school the Edward R. Roybal Learning Center. It is only a decade over due and more than the operating budgets of some small nations. It appears that economics and good government will be elective courses at Roybal.

The cost overruns are due to a serious of moronic decisions by school officials from siting issues to environmental issues. The plan includes a $17 million toxic gas mitigation system that will cost $250,000 a year to operate. It is needed because officials located the school on an old oil field with toxic pollutants. Vents around the school will allow underground methane and hydrogen sulfide gases escape. When sensors detect gas buildup, a blower will push out the gases. They later found an active earthquake fault under the site.

An investigation by the county district attorney’s office, the city attorney and the California attorney general found no criminal wrongdoing, just incredibly poor management — though most responsible officials escaped any real disciplinary action. In 2003 District Attorney Steve Cooley called the project “a public works disaster of biblical proportions.”

The school will hold 2,400 students.

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9 thoughts on “A Learning Experience Like None Other: Los Angeles Opens its $350 Million High School”

  1. Gyges,

    I was not aware that Rafflaw had appointed you as his/her spokesperson. Be that as it may if you reread what I wrote you may find that you have misunderstood what I have written as your comments suggest as much as I have not done what you imply I have.

  2. Mnoble,

    What Raff is saying is that you can’t draw conclusions about the entirety of the national public school system based on one example. The decisions as to location, which builders were hired, etc. were all made on the local level. I’m sure most of the funding came from local and state taxes, not federal. Since the decisions and money were mainly local the only conclusions that you can reach from this one example are about the LA school district.

    Now if you were to compile data (or find some study or metastudy) on a cross-section of school districts across the nation and showed that a significant number of them wasted money, then you could make statements about the system as a whole. The problem is that anicidotal evidence is the worst sort of evidence.

  3. Rafflaw –
    Last time I checked the Los Angeles School District was part of the government school system. Your statement that it is not makes no sense whatsoever.
    And corruption like this is going on all around the country (not everywhere but widespread from coast to coast) but people like to pretend like it is not. Just like they like to pretend that the Congress is bad except for their congress person.

  4. The toxic waste below that school will continue to cause problems with the students and faculty. If I lived in that school district, I would not send my kids to that unhealthy school. MNoble, it is not a “government school system”. It is the Los Angeles School District and it is not an example of what public schools are like around this country. It is merely a huge mistake made by the LA school officials and they should resign and then the Toxic Mansion of a school should be dismantled.

  5. That skule is awsum. The students in downtown L.A. have enough problems with out the braindamage they’re going to get attending this crap-tacular piece of modern art.

  6. “The perfect example of how corrupted the government school system is, and how it preys on those least able to defend themselves.”

    Personally, I think it could have been a better example had it been built in Iraq using the displaced children from Katrina as slave labor.

  7. The perfect example of how corrupted the government school system is, and how it preys on those least able to defend themselves. An absolute obscenity that has been going on for years. Now I know how to unload my toxic waste dump, I’ll donate it to the government school system so they can use it for a school site!

  8. Unless someone can come up with some safe, viable, economically feasible use for the otherwise ‘toxic’ gases emanating from the site, the City should cut their losses, now, and build, yet, another new school elsewhere.

  9. If the children in that school get sick from the toxic substances underneath, these school district officials should be tarred and feathered. Whose idea was it to build a school on top of a an old oil field? $350 million is alot of money to spend to endanger kids. Someone with some sense should stop the kids from being allowed to inhabit that school now before it is too late.

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