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Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce is
the voice of business in L.A. County. Founded in 1888, the Chamber promotes
a prosperous economy and quality of life in the Los Angeles region.
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Providing a safe, small and engaging learning environment for creative and caring teachers and eager students is the foundation for improving education. This week, as school districts across the country celebrate National School Building Week – a campaign of the Council of Educational Facility Planners – the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) deserves special praise for making significant progress on its New Schools Construction program. The program will build 132 new schools by 2012 and is the largest public works project in our nation’s history.
This commitment to the future was made possible by L.A. voters who wisely passed three bond issues totaling $12.6 billion resulting in $20 billion after the state match. This unprecedented investment serves as a testament to our region’s commitment to public education and the important connection between school facilities and learning. Angelenos caught a glimpse of the district’s progress this weekend at a School Building Week Kickoff celebration at the new Edward R. Roybal Learning Center (formerly known as Vista Hermosa).
To date, the New School Construction program has completed 71 of the 132 new schools slated to be built. These completed schools have already reduced involuntary busing of elementary students by 50 percent. In addition, the district has completed hundreds of renovation projects at existing schools valued at $2.8 billion to address important health and safety repairs, accommodate students with special needs and upgrade security. The building program will not be fully completed for another four years, but the Chamber commends LAUSD and the School Construction Bond Citizens’ Oversight Committee for their progress and the immediate impacts on L.A. students and communities.
LAUSD and the oversight committee deserve the business community’s continued support as they move forward with these construction and renovation projects. These new schools are being designed and built to accommodate Small Learning Communities, provide greater access to Multiple Pathways for students, and increase the number of work-based learning opportunities and business partnerships – all of which are critical to developing a 21st century workforce.
These new school facilities will contribute to the quality of education and our economy for years to come. For every citizen in our region, no matter our age, our economy and lifestyle tomorrow will depend largely on the education and earning capacity of the students who are in our schools today.
We are building that future one school at a time. Thank you to the wisdom of our citizens for making this possible.
And that’s The Business Perspective.
Gary L. Toebben
President & CEO
Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce
The Business Perspective is a weekly opinion piece by Gary Toebben, President & CEO of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce.
Gary Toebben, President & CEO, Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce
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