Reporting Andrea Menniti
MODESTO (CBS13) — At a time when teachers are being laid off, schools are crumbling, one local school district is spending nearly $4 million on a new football stadium.
The board voted to transform a practice field into a complete football stadium, but the project’s multimillion dollar price tag isn’t sitting well with everyone.
The Modesto City Schools District has decided to dish out $3.7 million for a brand new football stadium.
“I felt in this economic climate we couldn’t afford to do that,” board member Ruben Villalobos said.
Villalobos is one the two members who voted to against the field, but with four yes votes, the board gave the pricey project a green light.
While the cash comes from low-interest bonds earmarked for school construction projects, the district will have to make roughly $200,000 annual payments — money straight from the general fund.
“We’re going to have $200,000 less we can spend on teachers, classrooms, programs, sports music,” Villalobos said.
But board member Steven Grenbeaux said the construction market makes it the right time to move forward.
“We have cheap money right now,” he said. “We have the opportunity to build it so we decided to go ahead and build it.”
Grenbeaux says he voted for the stadium because the need is clear, with only two fields currently for seven high schools.
But amid the recurring crippling cuts to the classroom, opponents have serious concerns about the board’s timing.
“All of our teachers are back in the last two years … so that is not a compelling argument right now,” Grenbeaux said.