• BREAKING NEWS ABC shows live and on-demand -- Download the WATCH ABC app!

Budget cuts will keep Riverside's new $105M Hillcrest High School closed

May 31, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Once finished being constructed, Riverside's Hillcrest High School will be a state-of-the-art educational hub complete with a robotics lab, smart boards in every classroom and wireless Internet.

But the school at Indiana Avenue and Pierce Street will be missing perhaps the most important element: students.

Due to a shortage in state funding, the Alvord Unified School District won't have the $1 to $3 million necessary to operate the school, which will have cost $105 million to construct.

The school board postponed the opening until the 2012-13 school year, but there's no guarantee the district will be able to afford it then, either.

The stall affects other schools. For example, La Sierra High School is overcrowded with its 3,200 students. That's twice as many people as the school was designed for.

"It's going to be sad to see it there for many years if they don't get the resources to complete it," said Frank Ochoa, whose daughter was supposed to go to the new school soon.

The district has seen its $130 million budget slashed by $25 million. Forty teachers have been laid off and numerous other cutbacks made.

In order to open the school, officials said they need at a minimum a funding base like the one they had three years ago.

District Superintendent Wendel Tucker says even though students won't be able attend class at Hillcrest High next year, there is a valuable lesson they can learn from the situation.

"People deal with the realities of life and that's one of the lessons of life, is that you have to understand that you can't always have everything you thought you were going to have from the beginning," Tucker said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Load Comments