Christopher Maher, Jim Wells County Correspondent

The San Diego school board last Wednesday set aside $4 million to help fund a new elementary school in the district, moving closer toward making that school a reality.

The San Diego Independent School District Board of Trustees unanimously voted to assign that money to the new construction last Wednesday, a largely symbolic move.

The money will remain in the general fund for now, which currently has reserves of nearly $6 million, but will be designated for use in the construction of a new elementary school.

Crews are already working to remove asbestos, mold and other hazardous materials from the old Bernarda Jaime school, which will be torn down to make room for a new combined elementary school.

Of the $12.9 million estimated cost of the construction, the $8.5 million elementary school will be paid partly by funding from an Instructional Facilities Allotment (IFA) provided by the state, and partly through a bond passed by voters in 2003.

Under the terms of the IFA funding, the state will pay 76 percent of up to $5.42 million of that total, and the district will fund 24 percent of that amount and the remaining $3.08 million from property tax revenue.

The $4 million earmarked for the construction Wednesday will be used to make up most of the remaining amount of the construction, officials said.

In other business Wednesday, the board authorized superintendent Luis Pizzini to purchase a new school bus and a new van.

The bus, a 2009 model, is expected to cost $81,796. The 15-passenger van is expected to cost a little more than $20,000, although an exact price is not yet known.

Both vehicles will be purchased with money from the general fund, Pizzini said.