ENCINITAS, Calif. (KGTV) — Cardiff Elementary School in Encinitas must pay $500,000 just so it can resume a project to modernize its campus.
The payment is part of a settlement to a group that sued the district over a project to rebuild much of the school, which had upwards of 60-year-old buildings.
In 2016, voters approved a $22 million bond measure authorizing the project.
The group that sued, Save the Park and Build the School, challenged the plan's environmental impact report and its plan to build a multipurpose facility on part of a grassy area of district property that doubles as a public park in off hours.
Late last year, a judge ruled in the group's favor and issued an order to halt work on the project.
This week, the school and the group reached a settlement to allow campus construction to resume, and put the multipurpose center back into a federal approval process because it involves the National Park Service.
The group got $500,000 for legal fees.
"It was a flex and it cost our kids and the taxpayers $500,000 to bring us right back to where we were in December," said Morgan Gates, a parent at the school.
Eleanor Musick, who heads the group, said the park is cherished and one of the only open spaces nearby.
"It was not that we intended to stop the construction specifically to spite them or anything like that, That's the law. If a project is out of compliance with [The California Environment Quality Act] it must stop," Musick said.
The delay in construction means the facilities won't be ready for the start of the 2020-21 school year, as originally intended.