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L.A. schools need billions in facilities upgrades, report finds

October 14, 2011 |  2:50 pm

Photo: Students at Hollenbeck Middle School.  Credit: Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles public schools are in need of billions of dollars in repairs and renovations, according to the findings of a report released Friday on the condition of schools in the nation's largest districts.

The report by the Council for Great City Schools, a coalition of urban school districts in U.S., said that Los Angeles Unified, the nation's second largest district, requires $17.8 billion for repairs, renovation and modernization, with another $5.7 billion needed to pay for deferred maintenance at schools.

Of the districts examined in the report, many had the majority of their schools built more than 60 years ago. The report projected more than $100 billion worth of repairs, construction and maintenance is needed in the 65 districts included in the survey, which serve about 7 million students. The report also found that if the districts launch about $16 billion in facilities projects in one year, it could create more than 200,000 jobs.

Federal officials on Friday seized on the report as an opportunity to promote President Obama's job creation plan, which would direct $2.8 billion to California that could be used for schools.

"Our children only get one shot at a good education. They deserve better than crumbling school buildings and half-century-old science labs," Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said in a statement Friday. Duncan said the president's American Jobs Act would "provide billions for school modernization, which will help give our children the world-class education they deserve."


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-- Rick Rojas

Photo: Students at Hollenbeck Middle School sit in a classroom that could use some upgrades. Credit: Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times