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Trustees close elementary school for safety
by Tim Delaney
Jul 03, 2014 | 662 views | 0 0 comments | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tim Delaney photo
The Refugio Elementary School is a beautiful building, only six years old, but don't judge a book by its cover. Refugio school trustees took the initiative to close the school and hold classes in temporary buildings because the new building's shifting foundation is causing potential safety problems with walls coming apart and structural failings in beams and the roof.
Tim Delaney photo The Refugio Elementary School is a beautiful building, only six years old, but don't judge a book by its cover. Refugio school trustees took the initiative to close the school and hold classes in temporary buildings because the new building's shifting foundation is causing potential safety problems with walls coming apart and structural failings in beams and the roof.
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Tim Delaney photo 
Refugio school board trustee Ethel Garza points out a widening gap in cinder block in the Refugio Elementary School on Thursday, June 26. School trustees have initiated closing the school for safety reasons and will lease temporary classrooms until the problem can be fixed.
Tim Delaney photo Refugio school board trustee Ethel Garza points out a widening gap in cinder block in the Refugio Elementary School on Thursday, June 26. School trustees have initiated closing the school for safety reasons and will lease temporary classrooms until the problem can be fixed.
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Some of the walls in the elementary school have shifted so much you can fit a hand in the seams.
Some of the walls in the elementary school have shifted so much you can fit a hand in the seams.
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A beam is crushing the cinder block above the ceiling tiles in one of the rooms.
A beam is crushing the cinder block above the ceiling tiles in one of the rooms.
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REFUGIO – The Refugio school district trustees took initiative—without any advice from engineers—to close the Refugio Elementary School for safety reasons.

The trustees toured the elementary school Thursday, June 26, during a regular meeting, and the school building’s settling and shifting, causing gaps between the building’s cinder blocks, was apparent to all.

The building, only six years old and funded by a 2005 $5 million bond issue, looks beautiful from outside, but once inside, things turned ugly.

Temporary classrooms are being leased tis summer and will be located around the existing elementary school until the elementary school repairs begin.

Trustees during a discussion of the district’s budget and expenditures focused on the cost of a lawsuit the district has.

“The big thing draining us is the elementary school,” said Superintendent Jack Gaskins.

The district had an estimated ending fund balance of $2.61 million.

“We never go below $3 million. We are below our mark,” Gaskins said.

He added that the people who built the elementary school, who the district has a lawsuit against, should do the right thing and fix it.

Gaskins pointed out that the district’s maintenance and operating budget would not be able to sustain fixing the elementary school building.

He said the district will have to go to the Interest and Sinking budget, and that means the option of a bond issue.

“We could take it to the taxpayers to fix the elementary,” he said.

Most probable date for such a bond issue is May 2015.

Trustee Andy Rocha said he wanted to see what the budget is shaping up to be before he votes for increases, including stipends.

Trustee Ethel Garza, referring to salaries and raises, said she thinks the district will have to go with stipends.

Rocha said he mainly was referring to any increases in stipends, not doing away with current stipends.

A district budget will be approved at the end of July.

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