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Emanuel defends new schools while closing others –

Even as Chicago Public Schools has closed about four dozen schools and blamed a financial crisis for slashed school budgets across the city, Mayor Rahm Emanuel this past week has been busy announcing district construction projects. On Sunday, the mayor was at Gallistel Elementary Language Academy on the Southeast Side, pitching plans for a new $35 million elementary school to be built nearby to ease overcrowding. Parents complain that the site is potentially toxic, lies near a highway and was acquired in a land deal that profited a relative of former Ald.

Ed Vrdolyak, who served prison time for his role in a real estate scam