Can New Schools Save L.A.'s Neighborhoods?

The Los Angeles school district's public works project to build 80 new schools is more on par with a small nation than a school district.
May 17, 2004, 1pm PDT | Chris Steins | @urbaninsight
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There's little question that many Los Angeles residents are voting with their feet when it comes to choosing a school. Increasingly, residents are moving to smaller cities ringing Los Angeles rather than being forced to send a child into the much-maligned Los Angeles Unified School District. Will a new and innovative development team and community efforts like New Schools Better Neighborhoods be able to reverse the trend and transform Los Angeles' communities by building schools that revitalize communities? "New schools can do much to bring back those neighborhoods," says Jack Kyser, chief economist for the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. " 'There are a lot of areas in the urban core that have character and proximity to amenities, but they've slid. And that starts with the schools going downhill.'.. Phase 1, funded by the passage of Measure BB seven years ago, is plowing forward with a goal of 80 new schools by 2007 to relieve overcrowding and cut down on year-round schedules in the district's most densely populated areas. So far, 23 projects have been completed and nearly 100 others have broken ground... One reason is that resources have also been put toward athletic facilities, grass fields and play equipment. Outside of school hours, the district will maintain an open-door policy for the 240 acres of recreational space that will come with the new schools. Such spaces can be a big draw in parks-starved Los Angeles County."

Thanks to Chris Steins

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Published on Sunday, May 16, 2004 in The Los Angeles Times
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