Demolition of long-closed West Valley schools to begin Monday, leaving empty lots
*UPDATED LA Unified will begin demolition Monday at the first of two schools to be razed in the West San Fernando Valley. But no new construction is planned, leaving empty lots in residential neighborhoods. The Oso Avenue and Highlander Road elementary schools have sat mostly empty for more than 30 years, becoming eyesores and a source of...
By Craig Clough | July 14, 2016
Another shock to the LAUSD budget: DWP rate hike will cost $24 million over 5 years
The recent utility increases approved by the city will sock LA Unified with $24.2 million more in costs, but the school district is already working on ways to save money. Solar panels, water recycling, light bulb replacements and other programs will help off-set some of the extra costs of water and power, said District Chief Facilities...
By Mike Szymanski | April 19, 2016
Major school and kitchen upgrades could be approved Tuesday
The LA Unified school board will consider major upgrades at school sites throughout the district at their regular meeting Tuesday. The Facilities Services Division is asking the board to approve district bonds for projects including replacing a half-century-old canopy over a stairwell, replacing 60-year-old bleachers, upgrading walk-in freezers at 305 schools and replacing ovens, ice machines and...
By Mike Szymanski | March 7, 2016
Progress made in LA school buildings, but they need $60 billion more
School overcrowding is down and buildings are safer and updated. But according to a recent report, there’s still $60 billion worth of work needed on LA Unified schools. Since 1997 an unprecedented series of bonds approved specifically for school buildings to ease overcrowding has provided the district with $19.5 billion. While the district has completed 20,000 modernization...
By Mike Szymanski | March 1, 2016
LAUSD explores building 2 schools in Valley, holding off charters
*UPDATED LA Unified is exploring building two new schools in the western San Fernando Valley on the sites of two campuses that have been vacant for decades at a potential cost of tens of millions. The move comes as the district has no current plans for any new schools and would need to spend an...
By Craig Clough | December 10, 2015
LA Unified in final preparations for approaching El Niño
And now for the weather forecast: More than $17 million in roof repairs still need to be completed at LAUSD schools before El Niño arrives in January. The district also needs to replace aging equipment at the Emergency Operations Center at a cost of $225,000 a year, and it will cost about $5 per student...
By Mike Szymanski | November 20, 2015
Court monitor attacks LAUSD’s efforts to comply with ADA
A court-appointed monitor of LA Unified’s special education has harshly criticized the district for a failure to bring its facilities into compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). In the latest annual report, Independent Monitor David Rostetter accused LA Unified and its Facilities Services Division of mismanagement, a lack of clear direction, inaction, failing to act...
By Craig Clough | November 19, 2015
LA Unified prearing to sell first bonds from $7 billion Measure Q
Seven years after city voters approved Measure Q, giving LA Unified the go-ahead to borrow $7 billion, the first bond sales from the measure will begin within a month or so, district officials said today. As the largest local school bond measure in California history, Measure Q was requested to upgrade older school buildings and reconfigure...
By Mike Szymanski | November 18, 2015
LA Unified preparing for possible floods from El Niño
LA Unified plant managers are putting together a things-to-do list for every school in the district to prepare for a possible record El Niño. Everything from cleaning out gutters to replacing a roof could help schools weather a strong storm system that is forecast to start this winter and last through spring. The concerns were...
By Mike Szymanski | October 20, 2015
‘Temporary’ portable classrooms a permanent headache for LAUSD
Despite spending billions of dollars since 2003 to build new campuses, LA Unified still uses thousands of “portable” or temporary classrooms, and a recent presentation by the district’s Chief Facilities Executive Mark Hovatter made it clear they have become a permanent headache for the district. Despite recent reduction efforts, the district still uses roughly 8,300 portables,...
By Craig Clough | April 14, 2015