Where to begin with LAUSD?
The following link was on the front page of Yahoo! in the News links section.
The gold walls and chrome balconies of Santee High School gleam against a backdrop of warehouses and aging homes. When it opens Tuesday, the campus in tough South Los Angeles will become the first completely new high school built in 35 years in the city. It’s part of the biggest ongoing school construction project in the United States and stands as a symbol of revival for the nation’s second-largest district.
More than 3,000 district students are now packed into high schools designed for less than half that number. Laboratories are relics from the 1960s, and teachers roam campuses without having a desk of their own…
…Santee, built upon the contaminated site of an old dairy, also symbolizes the challenges the Los Angeles Unified School District faces in building environmentally safe schools in an area where contamination and earthquake faults cut through the earth.
Last month, the state Department of Toxic Substances Control said the school’s developer used tainted rubble as backfill beneath the school. The material contained varying levels of PCBs, lead and other potentially toxic chemicals.
Tests later determined the rubble posed no threat, but the situation has stirred bitter memories of past environmental fiascos. The most notorious occurred at Belmont High School five years ago, when the district spent $270 million on what became the nation’s most expensive public school campus.
Its doors, however, remain closed because it was built atop explosive pockets of methane gas and an earthquake fault just west of downtown. [full story]