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Toxic schools site gets approval from Council

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  • Leonie Haimson
    Toxic schools site gets approval from Council by patrick arden / metro new york
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 10, 2007
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      Toxic schools site gets approval from Council

      by patrick arden / metro new york

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      JAN 10, 2007

      CITY HALL. The Bloomberg administration won its fight yesterday to build four new schools on a polluted site in Mott Haven, but only after it had agreed to give the South Bronx community a role in reviewing the cleanup plan.

      The deal followed a round of 11th-hour bargaining, forced by the state’s school-siting law, which gives the City Council just 20 days to consider an application from the School Construction Authority. That deadline expired yesterday.

      Under pressure from concerned parents and teachers, the city had withdrawn the schools’ application one month ago, agreeing to fund an outside environmental study. Then it quietly resubmitted the application four days before Christmas.

      While the Bloomberg administration cited state approval for its $30 million remediation plan, the community cried foul. The city responded that the 2,400 classroom seats were needed to alleviate overcrowding.

      City Council Speaker Christine Quinn hailed the bargain yesterday as not only a “victory for Mott Haven . . . but a citywide victory.”

      She promised a “completely transparent process,” in which the independent consultant’s report will be reviewed by the city with input from Community Board 4 and the Bronx Committee for Toxic Free Schools, the group that had commissioned the study. The city will then submit a formal response to the study’s recommendations before soliciting public comments and holding a public hearing.

      Quinn also touted a “new protocol” to give communities and their elected officials a greater voice in selecting new school sites, but the particulars have not been worked out yet.

      The compromise was made under deadline pressure, explained Robert Jackson , chair of the Council’s education committee. “It has added more protection and safety for the children and staff,” he said, “but I still have reservations about siting schools in brownfield locations.”

      City already balks at one recommendation

      In negotiations, the city objected to one of the independent consultant’s tentative recommendations, namely installing an air-quality control system for the existing schools, P.S. 156 and I.S. 151, which are adjacent to the construction site. That type of system will be installed at the new schools.

       

       

      Leonie Haimson

      Class Size Matters

      124 Waverly Pl.

      New York, NY 10011

      212-674-7320

      leonie@...

      www.classsizematters.org

       

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