Closed Mercedes school costing taxpayers thousands of dollars

Most mornings, Claudia Zapata fixes her nieces hair before driving her across town to school.

Zapata said she hopes someday she TMll be able to walk her niece to school, the school that sits just across the street from her beauty salon.

It would have been easier you know, said Zapata, just cross the street and drop them off right there and I can go back to work."

Zapata TMs beauty salon is across the street from John F. Kennedy Elementary.

The school has been closed for over two and a half years.

It was shut down in 2007 for what Mercedes Independent School District Superintendent Beto Gonzalez called engineering and design deficiencies.

There were problems with the air conditioning system, problems with outside air being condensed and there being moisture inside the building, said Gonzalez.

The superintendent said the district had concerns that students, staff members' respiratory systems could be affected.

The school was built at a cost of $6.5 million to taxpayers.

After getting shut down, the school district said they spent over $230,000 moving the students to another school.

The school district said they are now spending $5,000 a month to maintain the building.

"It is a lot of money that is being spent in a way that is unproductive, said Gonzalez.

Gonzalez said the school district hopes to reach an agreement with engineers and designers about the defects out of court.

He said the school district should get enough money to repair and reopen the elementary school. In the meantime, the multi-million dollar building will continue serving as a storage space.