CVUSD Trustee says renovations for Palm View Elementary is now millions over budget

Regina Yurrita

All that’s left to do for Palm View Elementary School are finishing touches like installing cabinets and water fountains, but after the district overspent by tens of millions of dollars some local leaders want to take another look at the cost. 

When you walk along 7th street in Coachella, you won’t see a decrepit building about 100 years old, plagued with asbestos and with walls and a roof almost falling apart. 

Palm View Elementary School is the oldest school in the district and it was so dangerous, it was shut down for renovations. The hundreds of students had to attend school elsewhere.

“It was just multiple things and we couldn’t just keep renewing it or keep restoring it,” said Yolanda Corona, who has been advocating for better resources within the school district.   

The school was demolished and rebuilt from the ground up, complete with new architecture, classrooms, desks and fixtures.

CVUSD parents can’t help but feel relief that construction is finally finished.

“Finally! This was the ultimate project we have been waiting for. that i was waiting for. to have our students have new desks,” said Corona

However, it took longer than expected and it’s not only delayed, board members say it’s over budget by 30-million dollars. These millions of dollars that come right out of taxpayers.

“So ultimately it’s their money right. It’s their money and like some of the board members said we want to use their money wisely,” said Corona.

With so much money spent on one school, board members want to make sure other schools in the district aren’t neglected.

“My concern is always making sure that we are within our budget. We are doing everything within our means because we have 22 school sites and we have to make sure that we are not overspending on construction costs,” said Trinidad Arredondo, who is a trustee from the school board .

The tens of millions of dollars comes out of a district bond approved by voters in 2012.

Now the worry is whether once the money runs out, what happens next. 

“My question is what happened, why were these costs so high. If we’re supposed to be watching the funds and making sure that everything is within budget. I think right now what we have to do is go back and look at what actually happened,” said Arredondo.  

The district is still on the hook for an additional 10-thousand dollars to finish up things like cabinets and drinking fountains and if it’s not paid, the district could be liable.

A school in North Shore was also approved for rebuilding, but there are no details yet on how long renovations will take or how much it will cost taxpayers.

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