Parents express concerns about new school site

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Some parents on the Southeast Side say they have concerns about the location chosen for a new Chicago public school.

Schools in the community are over-crowded and many people are not opposed to a new school.

But they do have environmental and safety concerns about the location, and they wonder if politics played a role.

There are 1,400 students at Gallistel Language Academy, double its capacity.

With children in trailers and scattered across three campuses, many parents agree the neighborhood needs a new school.  They do not all agree on the site for it.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced plans for the new school at Gallistel Sunday night.  He left without taking questions.

CPS plans to build the new school at 104th and Indianapolis to ease over-crowding at Gallistel and Jane Addams Elementary School.

Tests on the land where a gas station and car wash once stood found 8 underground gasoline storage tanks, one of them leaking.  They also detected unsafe levels of the chemical benzene.

Another concern is that the site is near the Chicago Skyway, train tracks and industrial plants.

Also raising eyebrows, the city purchased the property from a relative of former Alderman Ed Vrdolyak.  Vrdolyak went to prison for his role in a real estate scheme. Current Alderman John Pope (10th Ward) says the link to Vrdolyak is a non-issue.  He also points out that CPS has spent millions of dollars to clean up the site of the new school.

Construction is scheduled to begin in the middle of next year.

Gallistel parents and teachers say they want improvements to existing schools as well.

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