LA School District Has a $640 Million Deficit so It Builds 1 School for $578 Million

There is no better example of the lunacy and arrogance of government waste than the new $578 million school built by the Los Angeles Unified School District.  The LUSD has a $640 million budget deficit and laid off 3,000 teachers during the last two years, but that didn’t stop it from spending other people’s money it doesn’t have.  The new school is the most expensive school ever built in the United States at a cost that exceeds the cost of China’s Olympic stadium and the Denver Broncos new football stadium.

See “LA unveils $578M school, costliest in the nation” and “Los Angeles Public School Named After Robert Kennedy Costs $578 Million.”

School District Gives Up Trying to Fire 79 Year Old 4th Grade Teacher After 5 Years

From the government workers are hired for life department.  The LA Weekly story called “LAUSD’s Dance of the Lemons” explains how difficult to impossible it is for the Los Angeles Unified School District to fire a teacher.  The LAUSD attempted to fire 74 year old 4th grade teacher Shirley Loftis, but gave up after five years.  The the state Commission on Professional Competence found that the district had grounds to fire her, but did not allow her to be fired.  During this five year period the district paid Ms. Loftis $300,000 to perform an admin job plus $190,000 for her legal fees.

Why do we have governmental agencies, including schools, that do not hire and fire based on competence or the lack thereof?  Why isn’t educating the children more important than the job of one teacher?  Is the purpose of a school to educate the children or to provide employment for life for teachers?  The article says

“It is so difficult to dismiss or discipline veteran teachers. . . . Recent articles in the Los Angeles Times have described teachers who draw full pay for years while they sit at home fighting allegations of sexual or physical misconduct.  But the far larger problem in L.A. is one of “performance cases” — the teachers who cannot teach, yet cannot be fired. Their ranks are believed to be sizable — perhaps 1,000 teachers, responsible for 30,000 children. . . .

But the Weekly has found, in a five-month investigation, that principals and school district leaders have all but given up dismissing such teachers. In the past decade, LAUSD officials spent $3.5 million trying to fire just seven of the district’s 33,000 teachers for poor classroom performance — and only four were fired, during legal struggles that wore on, on average, for five years each. Two of the three others were paid large settlements, and one was reinstated. The average cost of each battle is $500,000.

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