I'm off to go listen in on the Work Session this afternoon about Capital Program Planning.
I was talking with an aide to a City Councilperson yesterday about this very issue. Apparently the staff and families at the NW Center for Kids have been very active in reaching out in all directions to try to stay in the SPS building they currently occupy. He was mystified at how there could be two groups - Cascade and NW Center for Kids - both whom serve special needs children that have somehow become pitted against each other. Inwardly, I thought, "Well, that's about par for SPS."
He was also surprised at the lack of preventive maintenance in our school buildings especially given how packed and well-used they are. Again, no surprised if you know that the district has cut back on maintenance since the late '70s. They cut back and never looked back.
Well, there has been a lot of hand-wringing from Board members and superintendents and staff and yet, not much has changed. Plus there are more buildings open and in use than ever. And, the district has spent - over the last 20 years - upwards of $1B on renovations of buildings. It's a bit of folly to pay out for expensive new buildings and then not keep them up especially when a district is continuing to use old buildings that are upwards of 60,70, 80 years old. Just off the top of my head, I'd say half the buildings in the district are probably about 45-50 years old and the life span of most schools is about 25-30 years.
But another issue, that is having its own Work Session tomorrow, is Technology. As I previously reported, technology will receive fewer dollars under BEX IV because the building need is so great. But so is technology.
Common Core is a computer adaptive test. All this data that is being generated that is so vital (apparently) has to flow through technology. And yet we have many old buildings and not enough dollars. Hard choices will be made.
LAUSD spent about $1B for iPads recently and boy, the blowback has been severe. Here's a recent story that outlines out LAUSD officials admit they ignored computer inventories when making the decision to buy iPads.
last week that many schools were scheduled to receive the new tablets
to take digital state tests - even if they already had fleets of
laptops, iPads or other devices.
“So the number of carts and iPads they are getting are based on the
total number students regardless of existing computer resources?” asked
Quynh Nguyen, a member of a school board committee probing the iPad
“That is correct,” replied Oscar Lafarga, an administrator for the
district. He said the district only took into account how many students
would be tested.
The district says it could not afford to take inventory because of the recession. BUT, the School Board told them to and the district did and the results were released two days before one purchase occurred.
To show you the extremes of this issue, I give you the new Facebook page, Repairs, not iPads.
Photo after photo of some pretty undesirable conditions in school after school. But hey, iPads for everyone!