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Belmont Center's High Costs

June 01, 1997

I am saddened to read of the facts surrounding the Belmont Learning Center (news analysis, May 25). I am saddened, because the $171 million that is to be spent on the project could be invested at a conservative 5% annual interest rate and provide $2,700 in educational support every year to each of the 3,200 students the project is meant to benefit.

I am saddened because the $1.4 million spent on consultants and a single lawyer over the last three to six years could have paid each of 10 science teachers almost $50,000 a year for the last three years. If these teachers rotated between elementary schools, as such teachers do now, they could have served 50 schools and reached 7,500 students with basic education in science.

Finally, I am saddened that in today's ideological climate, the anti-tax conservatives will use this project as an anti-government poster boy and deny the schools funds that are sorely needed if we are to give our children the educations that they deserve.

As always in Los Angeles, local developers and local politicians are working hand in hand on this project. In the old, more corrupt days there were limits on this kind of boondoggle. Now, with rational, businesslike government holding sway, it seems like the participants can rationalize anything and, in doing so, they know no limits.

CHARLES J. SCHWARTZ

Los Angeles

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