Ron Galperin’s “School Room” (Nov. 18) did a fine job of portraying some of the complexities of siting new schools in today’s Los Angeles.
Nevertheless, it is important that readers not come away with the impression that the district is actually--or has any prospect of--receiving “plenty of money from the State Allocation Board.” Money available from the state falls woefully short of current needs, to say nothing of anticipated increases in enrollment.
To compound the problem, the Legislature imposed an unprecedented limitation on land cost in the recently passed state school bond measure, with Los Angeles as the intended target. As a result, the Board of Education, far from reaping “plenty of money,” may face the prospect of looking into its own pocketbook to provide the adequate school facilities for which the state program was established.
This is particularly unwelcome in the wake of large-scale recent and forthcoming budget cuts for the district.
What makes the Los Angeles Unified School District a “major player in real estate circles” is not a desire to become a land mogul. Our driving force is the commitment that urban children deserve the best schools that we can provide. These students should not be sentenced to long bus rides for the duration of their school careers simply because they live in areas without vacant land for new schools.
Can you imagine any activity that better represents the “highest and best use” of a site than the education of the next generation?
ROBERT J. NICCUM
Niccum is director of real estate of the Los Angeles Unified School District.