EDITORIAL : SWELTERING CLASSROOMS; PUBLIC IS LOSING PATIENCE WITH L.A. SCHOOL DISTRICT.
To get voters to approve Proposition BB, the $2.4 billion bond issue for schools in the April election, the Los Angeles Unified School District promised to install air conditioning without delay.
The voters bought the con job for Proposition BB and burdened themselves with more long-term taxation. They had the reasonable expectation that educators understand the meaning of words, especially their own words, and would keep their end of the bargain by quickly delivering the promised improvements.
But it's nearly six months later, and the public is seeing business as usual at the LAUSD. Officials are plodding along like molasses in a hard freeze. It's the same, old bureaucratic inertia and self-service.
Several companies have stepped forward, eager to undertake fast-track installation of air conditioning and complete the job by the start of the next school year 12 months from now. However, they were rebuffed by the district bureaucracy which wants to retain control and keep BB-funded projects from being given to private industry for oversight and management.
Career bureaucrats even had the nerve to urge members of the Board of Education - who are elected officials - not to listen to members of the public who may try to contact them about fast-tracking air conditioning. The bureaucrats advised the board members to rely on the guidance of district staff in such matters.
It's amazing, but not unexpected. It's the sort of foolishness that has fueled public interest in breaking up the huge LAUSD and splitting it into smaller, better managed school districts.
If the district's leaders don't have the job done by next September, then the voters and taxpayers will know who is responsible - a vast and bloated bureaucracy that runs the LAUSD for its own advantage, outmaneuvers the elected school board at every juncture, and doesn't care a whit what anybody thinks. A day of reckoning is coming unless the reign of the bureaucrats comes to an end soon.