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School Location Matters

Preventing School-Siting Disasters

By Steven Fischbach, Lois Marie Gibbs & Stacey Gonzalez

Siting new schools on cheap, polluted land is tempting to many cash-strapped school districts, particularly districts serving largely low-income and minority children, but the ultimate cost to children's health and the public fisc is great. Few states have adequate laws to prevent districts from siting schools on or near environmental hazards, or adequate mechanisms for public participation in school-siting decisions. Nonetheless, through early intervention in school construction planning, legislative advocacy, and, where necessary, litigation, legal aid advocates can help prevent poor school-siting decisions or minimize their harmful effect on children's health.

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