LAS VEGAS, N.M. — The Las Vegas school district has spent about $70,000 from its school construction and maintenance budget to help build a memorial to five family members killed in a 2006 drunken-driving crash, officials said Friday.

The total cost of the memorial on the Robertson High School campus was about $175,000. The state Legislature earmarked about $100,000 and private donors gave $6,000, said Pete Campos, the district's former school superintendent and state lawmaker.

But some school board members are questioning the spending.

"I am concerned," said school board member Ramon Montaño. "I support what we did. But when it comes to our finances ... we need to know exactly what is coming in and what's going out."

The memorial — five pillars of stacked stone — is for the Collins-Gonzales family killed by drunken driver Dana Pabst, who was driving the wrong way on Interstate 25 in November 2006.



Campos and the district's new superintendent, Rick Romero, say it was money well spent.

Romero, who began work in July, said the memorial is a reminder of the consequences of drunken driving. "For me, the message that will live on in the life of the memorial is worth" the cost," he said. "If people are upset with that, they need to be upset with the contractors."

Romero referred questions about the cost to Soleil West Architects, which did not return calls for comment.

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