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DALLAS The Dallas Independent School District broke ground Tuesday on a new school, even as administrators are struggling to deal with funding cuts that could result in the loss of thousands of jobs.

The son of the late Ann Richards joined DISD officials at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Ann Richards Middle School.

The $29 million facility, which is designed for an enrollment of up to 1,250 students in grades 6-8, will be built in the 3800 block of North Prairie Creek just off Interstate 30 and east of Big Town Boulevard in Dallas.

It is being constructed with funds that were approved in a 2008 bond election. That money cannot be co-mingled with the district's regular operating budget.

The teachers will follow the kids, said DISD Superintendent Michael Hinojosa. So when we open the school, a couple of other middle schools will get smaller... they'll need fewer teachers. We'll assign those teachers to this campus, and so by the time it opens in a year-and-a-half from now, hopefully we'll have state finances in better shape and we'll be able to add some staff back by that time.

The grand opening for the school is scheduled to take place in August 2012 and is touted as an environmentally sustainable school with geothermal wells, sustainable irrigation control and natural lighting, in a statement released by DISD.

Hinojosa said the only way the district would close a school in order to open Ann Richards is in a worst case scenario.

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