School Daze

L.A.'s $578 Million School

Get learning: Los Angeles will open the most expensive public school ever next month, a K-12 complex that will house 4,200 students in the infamous Ambassador Hotel, the site of Robert F. Kennedy’s assassination. Dubbed the crème de la crème of “Taj Mahal schools,” the Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools is part of a movement away from the dreary cinder-block institutions that made kids feel like they were going to jail. The new facility has a swimming pool, murals, a marble memorial to RFK, and a manicured public park. But critics say these Taj Mahal schools—two others in L.A. cost more than $200 million each—are way too expensive. And their unveiling comes as 3,000 teachers have been laid off in two years, while programs and even the length of the school year are cut. Dozens of $100 million-plus campuses have been built across the country in recent years, with supporters saying children flourish in better digs.