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SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA / A news summary

Construction of School to Begin Next Year

May 23, 2000

SOUTH LOS ANGELES — Construction will begin next year on an elementary school that has sat half-finished for four years because of a contract dispute, Los Angeles Unified School District officials said.

The $9.7-million school at East 42nd Street and McKinley Avenue was proposed to serve up to 850 students, easing overcrowding at nearby elementary schools.

But construction was halted in June 1996 because of a funding dispute between the district and the contractor. Since then, the site has become a haven for transients and vandals, who have covered the bare frame with graffiti.

The district could not collect on the contractor's performance bond because the contractor's surety company was taken over by the state insurance commissioner, due to allegations of widespread financial mismanagement.

Kathy Littman, the district's director of new construction, said the state recently appointed a new surety company to take over for the failed company and pay the performance bond, giving the district the funding to rebuild the project.

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