Every morning when I get up I browse the news. This morning I found an article about a new California school with a price tag of $578 million dollars—headlined as the costliest in the nation. I read the story and my blood boiled. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/38807154/ns/us_news-life
We all elect our politicians—school board members—in hopes they will represent us not only with respect to our views on any given subject matter, but with it in mind that they will also think about the bottom line too—our wallets. Somebody in California dropped the damn ball. And if it were my state? Heads would roll!
Actually, I don’t think such a project would ever have gone on the books in my state. No, I’m not California-bashing. I just know we have some truly rabid watchdogs in our state that do nothing but eyeball our public school system to the point of overkill sometimes.
The location of the school itself is suspect to me. It seems they remodeled and added to the old Ambassador Hotel where Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in 1968, and the new K-12 school has the following amenities:
• fine art murals
• marble memorials depicting RFK
• a manicured public park—ten acres
• state-of-the-art swimming pool
• preservation of pieces of the original hotel
• talking benches (history involving RFK)
• a dance studio with cushioned maple floors
• a modern kitchen with a restaurant quality pizza oven
• a stainless steel, postmodernistic tower encircled by a rollercoaster-like swirl
First off, it sounds more like a museum to me than a school. And a museum should be funded privately not publicly. Or with a combination of grant money and taxpayer dollars. But the fancy architecture, fine art, and lavish upgrades aren’t the only things that added to the price tag of this school. It seems the historical preservationists involved in all of this—and how all of this ended up being paid for within a school budget is beyond me—but they were involved in a lawsuit with Donald Trump who wanted to build the tallest building in the world there. Donald should have won. Because to me it sounds like this building is OVERKILL MUCH. And I bet Donald could have built the world’s tallest building a lot cheaper too. Cost of that litigation? $9 million.
Oh, there were also a lot of legal costs involved in some sort of litigation involving methane. HUH? I don’t know. The article didn’t give much information on that one at all. But the real kicker for me was the whopping $15 million bucks spent to preserve things like a wall from the old Coconut Grove lounge.
What kills me in all of this is that these kids attending this school don’t even know who RFK is. They don’t remember the old Ambassador Hotel or know a damn thing about the Coconut Grove Lounge. And K-12? Most of their parents won’t remember anything or much at all about any of it either. They are too young. What meaning will any of this have for them?
The idea behind the school—and there is another one almost as costly in Cali too and one in New Jersey and one in Massachusetts as well according to the article—is that you get kids out of a lackluster environment and they learn better. HUH? Critics are saying that the school will be run by the same people who have given California a fifty percent dropout rate.
This project was started over twenty years ago it seems. So we can’t slap them for doing this during hard economic times. But should they have done this at all? Will having your child in a fancier school influence his/her learning? And the biggest question of all. In a country where our teachers are already underpaid, shouldn’t all of that money have gone to teacher pay raises? Or shouldn’t it have gone to upgrading existing schools?
What’s everyone’s take on this? Am I wrong to be scratching my head and wondering WTF this morning?
On another note, don't forget to check out Natalie Dae's post here on Three Wicked Writers Plus Two on Friday. She's going to announce a really cool competition. You could win a prize that might just come in pretty handy. So make sure you stop by on Friday to see what Natalie has in store for everyone.
Thanks for reading!