Gallistel Elementary parents: Upgrade our school before building new one

September 16, 2013 (CHICAGO)

As the dust settles from CPS closing nearly 50 public schools, leaders at the Chicago Teacher's Union wonder how the city is going to pay to build a new school on the Southeast Side. That new school would be just blocks from Gallistel Elementary.

"Since the early 90s people have been talking about adding a new school and we've been deferring and deferring. Well, the days of deferring are over," Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Sunday, announcing the plan. Some parents believe CPS should address overcrowding at Gallistel first.

"The school that we have right now is a pretty good school and I think they should do more improvements into this school," Jose Chavez, parent.

"These kids are getting shafted because you know the new schools are gonna get everything brand new," Mara Cortez, parent, said.

The mayor left the public announcement before anyone could ask him questions, which upset some parents. Melissa Williams is concerned about potential environmental hazards on the build site for the new school.

"Putting it on top of an old gas station? There's a lot of questions, you know, like how, why and is it gonna be safe?" Melissa Williams, parent, said.

City officials say they will work with parents on upgrades at Gallistel and that funding comes, in part, from tax increment financing money. The city also plans to address any environmental hazards at the build site. The new school is set to open in 2016.

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