Saturday, May 29, 2010

How much? Are you kidding me?

When it was pitched to Modesto school bond voters in 2001, Gregori High School was supposed to cost $66 million and open by 2006.
But Gregori's price tag will hit $140.7 million by the time it finally opens this August. That's double the promised price, and Modesto City Schools still is arranging funding to pay for it.
The 80-acre campus east of Salida cost 40 percent more than its architectural twin, Enochs High, which opened four years ago in Modesto.

School opens Aug. 11 at Gregori High.
• An estimated 842 freshmen and sophomores are anticipated. Classes for juniors will be added next year, and classes for seniors will start the following year.
• The school will draw students from Salida and northwest Modesto.
• The campus is at 3701 Pirrone Road, which is north of Kiernan Road between Stoddard and Dale roads. The phone number is 550-3421.
Every aspect of building Gregori was significantly more expensive than Enochs, despite the fact their core designs are essentially identical.
Superintendent Arturo Flores defends the district's construction decisions.
"We spent what needed to be spent on the development of that school," said Flores, who took over as Modesto City Schools' superintendent in 2007. "This is a fine school for a community that sorely needed it."
What boosted Gregori's cost was not construction overruns, but extra expenses caused primarily by its location. It was built on agricultural land beyond the reach of existing water or sewer services or adequate roads. It is miles away from where most Salida students live, which is west of Highway 99.
"It was poor planning to put it on that site. It was built in the wrong location," said Stanislaus County Supervisor Jim DeMartini, who was on the committee that promoted the 2001 school bond. "Taxpayers just got ripped off on a colossal scale."

Laying off teachers yet they can spend $140,000,000 on a school?

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