Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Pondering More Waste From L.A.U.S.D.

The following is from an article found in The Daily Breeze.

San Pedro school plans go to Coastal Commission
Los Angeles Unified School District is delaying wind turbines to speed construction.
By Melissa Pamer, Staff Writer
Janyary 7, 2009

Plans for a new high school on former military property in San Pedro will face a near-final hurdle today when the project goes before the California Coastal Commission.

Designed as a "green" demonstration campus, the school will not turn out exactly as Los Angeles Unified School District officials had hoped because a plan for three dozen 50-foot wind turbines has been put on hold.

LAUSD officials said they have accepted the elimination of the energy-producing turbines and other conditions recommended by commission staff in order to move forward with the project, which is set to relieve crowding at nearby San Pedro High School.

"We wanted the coastal permit as soon as possible," said district regional development manager Roderick Hamilton. "Time is of the essence."

The district is racing to complete the school so that it can ensure compliance with the terms of a class-action settlement and related legislation that mandate the statewide elimination of year-round instruction by 2012.

LAUSD officials have said overcrowding at San Pedro High could force a multitrack academic calendar at the campus if the new school isn't completed.

The district, which is facing teacher layoffs amid anticipated
state budget cuts, has enough money from four multibillion-dollar bond measures for the $102.5million project, Hamilton said. The state's move last month to freeze infrastructure funding, which could deprive the district of $833million for construction, will not affect the new campus, he said.

The new school would provide seats for 810 students on 29 acres of the district property at the former Upper Reservation of Fort MacArthur. Officials are working on a plan to house about 500 magnet students from San Pedro High at the school, with extra classroom space going to other uses.

The Board of Education approved the project in December over opposition from the site's neighbors, who have expressed concern about noise, traffic, parking and other issues. About a dozen opponents plan to attend the meeting, which will be held in Oceanside.

If the commission approves the project, the district would move an early education center, a continuation high school, old military buildings and an adult skills center from the site by April, when grading is set to begin, Hamilton said. Construction would start next year.

In the meantime, the district will conduct a study on the impact that wind turbines would have on birds, as recommended by commission staff. LAUSD would then return to the commission to request approval for the turbines, Hamilton said.

The school site is on the Pacific Flyway, a north-south route for migratory birds.

The district's project is the first development in the state to request the commission's approval for multiple wind turbines, said Al Padilla, a coastal program analyst.

"There's a lot of questions...and we just can't approve (the turbines) at this point," Padilla said.
He also recommended that, before issuing a permit, the commission require plans for lighting, landscaping, water management and the care of archaeological artifacts.

I posted a comment to the article, and here it is.

Economy seems to have been removed from the vocabulary of the Facility Services Division of L.A.U.S.D.

Not only are those folks not willing to wait ONE MONTH until the California Coastal Commission meets, in all places, Los Angeles, they are now willing to bend over to the CCC with their plans to economize with the use of wind turbines just to get the campus approved.

Please forgive me for remaining a bit confused.

The District has the money to build the school, but as of late, not enough money to keep from the potential of laying off classroom teachers for students currently attending the District's campuses.

When anyone attempts to truly suggest that the "810 seat" campus would only have that many students, they omit the fact that the student to teacher ratio found at the vast majority of classrooms that are not connected with physical education, at S.P.H.S. had a ratio of about 40-1 in April, 2008.

Nobody from L.A.U.S.D. has, can, or will claim that classroom overcrowding would be elimated because of any new campus, in San Pedro.

Far more than 30 regular classrooms at S.P.H.S. have about a 40-1 student to teacher ratio.If anyone truly feels that the 30 new regular classrooms proposed at the new campus would hold only 27 students each, is not stating a fact currently found at S.P.H.S.

In truth, the new campus would find itself having at least 1,200 students attending classes, no matter what the proposed seat count actually is.

I don't know how many District employees and other representatives will be logging vouchers for travel, food, and possible lodging to attend the CCC meeting in Oceanside, but if any of them do, it also demonstrates the pure lack of fiscal responsibility the District needs so badly at this time.

For a Proposed Project that would not even open for students for perhaps 3-4 years, waiting just one month for the CCC to meet in Los Angeles seems to be too much to ask for District personnel.

The next time you hear of fiscal and economic hardships within L.A.U.S.D. please remember that money will be spent sending folks south that could have been kept in the District by simply having the issue carried over by just one month.

Sorry L.A.U.S.D., your money woes now fall on more hard of hearing ears because you simply don't get it, do you?

Currently and for the foreseeable future, enrollment at L.A.U.S.D. schools are going DOWN and the prospect that S.P.H.S. would go to a multi-tract calendar is also going DOWN.

That doesn't seem to stop L.A.U.S.D. from creating the marketing ploy of crying wolf, it seems.

Everyone should remember that the proposed new campus would NOT ease classroom overcrowding at either of the campuses and classroom overcrowding and a very high students to teacher ratio that now is seen, will NOT be relieved because of any new campus.

I have always been told that classroom overcrowding and a high students to teacher ratio are the most important factors when pondering poorer performance by students. The construction of any new campus in San Pedro would not alter that fact.

But the majority of voters found themselves willing to approve a Seven Billion Dollar bond measure last November to go along with other bond measure approved for more schools.

So I guess L.A.U.S.D. is eager to start spending that money even though it may layoff classroom teachers.

When L.A.U.S.D wants something from voters and 'deciders' they are not very willing to wait.

When regular folks want something from L.A.U.S.D. you can probably imagine how slow they are to comply. I waited months for the answer to a question I felt was very simple and easy to answer. When the response finally came, the information could not be found by L.A.U.S.D. even though the evidence of the information was on an L.A.U.S.D. document.

There is now absolutely no guarantee that S.P.H.S. and other schools now on regular calendars won't have to go multi-tract simply because of the lack of teaching positions in the near future within L.A.U.S.D.

Even though L.A.U.S.D. may layoff teachers, it means that classroom overcrowding will probably get worse before it gets better and one of the remedies to that would be for schools to go to a multi-tract calendar......and L.A.U.S.D. knows this.

So IF S.P.H.S. does have to go multi-tract is will NOT be because the campus is overcrowded, it will be because of mismanagement within L.A.U.S.D. and its lack of real economic accountability.

It would have nothing to do with easing crowded halls, cafeterias, and not enough student lockers.

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