Photos of Los Angeles's Crumbling Public Schools


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Photos of Los Angeles's Crumbling Public Schools

A disgruntled teacher in LA's public school system started a Facebook page filled with pictures of the sorry state of LAUSD's facilities. While cockroaches crawl around bathrooms and infrastructure remains broken, the district is spending upward of $...

Photos of school facilities filled with rat droppings, broken pipes, walls riven with holes, and disgusting garbage-bag-wrapped water fountains grace the “Repairs not iPads” Facebook page. Though they aren’t all from the same building, the pictures all share one common bond: They were taken at schools within the Los Angeles Unified School District.

The page, created by teacher Matthew Kogan, is an effort by LAUSD teachers to voice their discontent with the district’s decision to spend $1 billion on iPads but neglect repair to deteriorating schools.


“While [LAUSD superintendent John] Deasy claims to be creating a ‘brave new world’ and saying this is a new civil right, our conditions are third world,” Kogan said.

Kogan, a teacher at Evans Community Adult School in Echo Park, Los Angeles, started the page back in December. He posted one picture himself; the rest of the submissions come from teachers throughout the district. Despite the fact that the page is more than two months old, its popularity only began to skyrocket this week. Likes of the page went from a couple hundred on Tuesday to more than 1,600 on Thursday.

“I think we have the support of almost all the teachers. There’s a great frustration about maintenance and the conditions that we work in, as you’ve seen from some of those pictures,” Kogan said.

The iPad program was subsidized with bond money originally intended to go to repairs. One of these bond measures, Measure Q, which was passed in 2008, authorized the district to raise $7 billion. The measure claimed the funds would be used to “upgrade and update earthquake and fire safety, repair and upgrade aging and deteriorating classrooms and restrooms, and remove asbestos and lead paint hazards,” as well as “build science labs and other specialized classrooms," according to

It's unclear where the other $6 billion in bond money will be going. When asked, LAUSD spokeswoman Shannon Haber refused to comment and simply linked to the L.A. Schools website for more information about the $19.5-billion New Construction and Modernization Program that LAUSD has been running since 1997.


Though no comment was made on the legality of using these bonds for purposes other than what was intended, LAUSD said the iPads are not taking away from school repairs.

“As far as reassigning the budget, we believe these should not be competing interests: iPads vs. clean schools. We believe that every student deserves access to technology and that all schools should be clean and safe learning environments,” Haber said in a statement.

The iPad program has been controversial since its rollout last fall due to security breaches that occurred when students removed filters so that they could freely browse the web. Despite complaints, the district doesn’t appear to be easing up on the program. On January 14, the Los Angeles Board of Education announced that it would distribute iPads to an additional 38 LAUSD campuses at the cost of $115 million.

“We’re concerned going into the future. Public education demands public trust and public funding. I think there are not going to be any school bond measures for a very long time. It’s hard to vote for something when you don’t know what the money will be used for,” Kogan said, adding: “I think it’s shocking that the superintendent would be willing to disregard the will of the voters. It’s almost like he’s taking the money and throwing out the election.”

In her statement, Haber said LAUSD has already started repairs at Franklin High School and is looking into fixing other issues depicted in the photos. Kogan was not happy with this course of action.


“Fixing just those [problems] that have gotten attention is wrong. They have to fix all the problems,” Kogan said.