Morgan Hill

Site for New Morgan Hill Elementary School Contaminated With Toxic Pesticide

District officials plans to haul out the contaminated soil before construction for the new campus begins

Plans are moving forward to build a new elementary school in Morgan Hill, despite a long controversy over a toxic pesticide in the soil.

The school district plans to cleanup the site, but some parents say the plan isn't good enough.

The Morgan Hill Unified School District plans to build a new elementary school on nine acres of farmland off Peet Road.

The Borrello family donated the land, which is worth $9 million. But testing revealed the soil contained high levels of dangerous pesticides, specifically dieldrin, a now banned substance linked to liver problems and tremors.

"My biggest concern is its on a plot of land that's extremely toxic," parent Melissa Hartley said.

Hartley said she will not send her two kids to the new school even though its just three blocks from their home.

District officials said they plan to haul out the contaminated soil before starting construction.

"The health of the students is No. 1 and we are considering the appropriate measure that is at a higher standard than for residential development to make sure the contaminated soil is removed before the school can be built," Morgan Hill Unified School District Superintendent Steve Betando said.

New development in the area and growing enrollment has made building a new campus a priority for the district, Betando said.

Meanwhile, more than 100 people have signed an online petition urging the district not to build at the site.

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