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How Do We Repair Our Deteriorating Schools?

November 20, 1994

Do you really believe the story describing conditions in schools ("Reading, Writing, Ruin," Nov. 9) will persuade me that what schools need is more money?

Exactly how will money solve the problem of "all kinds of things jammed down toilets"? The students can afford juice cans, and the district has the money to provide paper towels and soap dispensers. If these kids had more towel dispensers and bigger and better soap dispensers, perhaps they would only do a more effective job of crippling the plumbing systems.

Who is naive enough to believe that more money will end graffiti? How exactly do we manage the budget for less defecation on floors and behind gymnasiums?

Yes, money spent on the education of our youth is the most important investment we can make in our futures. However, my support goes to (LAUSD board member) Barbara Boudreaux who says, "If you tolerate filth, you're going to have filth."

ANITA JESSE

Shadow Hills

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I find it obscene that some bureaucratic desk jockey is probably retired and fishing in Florida after a stellar career contracting shabbily constructed school buildings that crumble while children sit among the ruins.

What sort of self-image does a child develop sitting in that sort of slum building created by lack of attention and neglect? What are we saying to today's kids? To their teachers? Definitely: "You are not valuable."

Imagine: Mothers lovingly send their youngsters off to an educational environment so dirty, decrepit and vile that even the computers have to be strategically located and covered in plastic to be safe.

What was implicit in your article was clearly verified in The Times Poll that reflected California voters' concerns. Education takes fourth place. We only pay lip service to the value of children and their impact on the future.

BARBARA CLARK

Los Angeles

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Last year I appeared before the Los Angeles Board of Education as a retired schoolteacher and recommended they begin making students responsible for the school facilities as an important part of the educational process.

I have been told that in Korea and Japan the students are responsible for their classes and other facilities and each week take turns sweeping, mopping and gardening.

My presentation was received well by several members, but I was told this could never be a school-district policy. I ask the readers of The Times and parents of school-age children: Why not?

WILLIAM CLARK

Agoura

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I have a riddle for you. How many bathrooms can you repair in our public schools with Michael Huffington's campaign budget?

DWORA FRIED

Beverly Hills

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How ironic that this article should be published on the same day the Los Angeles school board announced it will fight the will of the people by taking Proposition 187 to court.

The school board constantly states there are no funds for better education, and yet they can somehow afford expensive attorneys.

The Times should be commended for exposing the poor condition of so many of our school campuses.

I am appalled to read about classrooms that have suffered for years with leaking roofs, buildings that haven't been painted for 30 years, restrooms that are virtually unusable and schools that once had several custodians and now have none.

I hope our school board and other elected officials study this issue. We voted into office people who said they represent us and would do their jobs, not mismanage the budget and fight us in court with our own tax dollars.

GREGORY MORELAND

Mission Hills

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I have a simple solution to the problem of inadequate maintenance of the deteriorating L.A. schools.

Let the LAUSD bigwigs close their clean and expensive downtown offices and reposition themselves at the school sites.

Let Superintendent Sid Thompson and his comfortable bureaucrats be forced to use the filthy, disgusting school bathrooms and hold their meetings in the school rooms.

I guarantee that in no time at all, the money would be found to improve those school sites.

DANIEL HENNESSY

LAUSD teacher

Sierra Madre

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