NEWSLETTER SUMMER 2005
The City Project’s Executive Director Robert García has resigned from the LAUSD School Bond Oversight Committee after serving five years as its Chairperson. During that time, new schools were built, older schools became less crowded, fewer children were bussed out of their neighborhoods to relieve overcrowding, more schools returned to traditional calendars, local jobs for local workers were created, contracts were awarded to small businesses, and hundreds of acres of land were environmentally restored. Since 2002, the district has completed 24 new schools, 23,423 new classroom seats, and more than 10,000 repair projects.
A Los Angeles Times editorial credited “dogged oversight” impart for the success of the school construction and modernization program. The Environmental Law Institute cited LAUSD as a national “best practice” example for sustainable new school construction with natural lighting, trees and grass, and renewable energy meeting CHPS (Collaborative for High Performance School) standards. What remains lacking at LAUSD is consensus on the values at stake in building schools for our children and our communities. Drop out rates of over 50% remain intolerably high. Achievement test scores are rising but still lag behind where they should be. 87% of children in LAUSD are not physically fit. Los Angeles needs to implement the joint and community use of school yards and parks to provide places for children to play. The School Board and the Superintendent have not yet adequately articulated the values at stake for public education in general, or how school construction and modernization advance those values.