It's an opening day that would put the Dodgers to shame.


This Tuesday, nearly 13,000 students will report to 13 new schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District, part of the $15.2 billion capital improvement initiative.


"It's a symbolic gesture," District spokeswoman Shannon Johnson said of the simultaneous openings. "It really demonstrates how big a deal it is for us to have so many new schools."


The capital improvement program includes $9.2 billion for 140 new schools, along with $6 billion to renovate existing ones. Construction started in 2001; prior to Tuesday, 16 new schools had opened.


As part of the 13 openings, the LAUSD's logistics division had to help principals pick out furniture, select colors (burgundy and royal blue are popular), and even identify which gang members would attend which schools.


The attendance areas for the schools were drawn early so parents could know by April where their kids would go in the fall. Last winter's torrential rains delayed construction. "Construction projects always have their problems, but all the rain affected our schedules," said Dan Harrison, head of LAUSD's school management.


The district pushed up the opening date of some schools so it could have its big day on Sept. 6.

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