Construction of California City High School and Hacienda Elementary is being financed with a $16 million school construction bond measure approved by voters in 2002. The additional funds would allow the district to build a gymnasium, administrative office complex and fields at the high school, as well as a cafeteria/multipurpose room and library at the elementary campus. The board voted at Tuesday’s meeting to set the election for September rather than combine it with the general election in November. Phelps said other savings would offset the extra election cost. “The rate of increase in construction costs is quite a bit more. The longer you wait, it costs more,” he said. If the bond extension passes in September, the bonds can be sold and construction could start in time for completion the following fall, Phelps said. District officials in May said a telephone poll of 300 California City residents found that 80 percent were willing to pay more money to complete both schools. Spiraling construction costs and delays in building have left the district short of funds for the schools. Construction of the high school was delayed by the discovery of a protected desert tortoise near the site. And both the high school land and the elementary campus site had to be surveyed for unexploded bombs that might have been left over from World War II training. The money from the 2002 bond issue won’t stretch to cover expenses at 2007 levels. That means the high school will open without a gym or office complex, and the elementary campus with no multipurpose room or library. Both schools are expected to open in August. District officials initially said the cost of the elementary school would be $8 million to $9 million, and the high school would cost $23 million. Those estimates have ballooned to about $40 million for the high school and $20 million for the elementary school. [email protected] (661) 267-5744160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! MOJAVE – Mojave Unified School District will ask California City voters in a special election in September to approve extending a school construction tax for nine years to raise $24 million. The money is needed to finish an elementary school and a high school in California City after funds fell short. “We are going to ask (voters) to extend it at the same rate, just extend it out further, to sell more bonds to raise money to complete the schools,” Superintendent Larry Phelps said. Under the proposed extension, homeowners would pay the same amount they already are billed – about $160 on a house assessed at $100,000 – but for nine years beyond 2029, when the current bond tax is set to expire.