The ‘Taj Mahal of Schools’ Cost Taxpayers $578M

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In this Aug. 10, 2010 photo, the Robert F. Kennedy Learning Center is seen in Los Angeles.

AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes

Reading, writing, arithmetic — and a manicured public park.

Set to be unveiled in September, the Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools in Los Angeles is being dubbed the “Taj Mahal of Schools.” With its $578 million price tag, it will be the most expensive public school in the country, the AP reports.

The school is located on the former site of the Ambassador Hotel, where Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1968. Aside from classrooms, this campus will feature a public park, a marble memorial to Kennedy, a state-of-the-art swimming pool and fine art murals.

This school isn’t the only million-dollar megaschool. Two in Los Angeles alone cost $377 million and $232 million, and one in New York City cost $235 million.

In Los Angeles, 3,000 teachers have been laid off in the past two years and the California state budget has been slashed. There and elsewhere, many of the most expensive schools are located in lower-performing districts. This leads some to wonder if the money could be better spent on, well, learning.