School District to close 37 schools
Superintendent William Hite is hoping the move makes the district more attractive.
By Denise Clay
By the end of the 2012-2013 school year, the School District of Philadelphia will be 37 schools lighter.
That's because 37 district schools will be closing this year.
Superintendent William Hite announced the closings during a news conference on Thursday. The idea behind them is to help the district become a lean, mean education machine, he said.
"These changes achieve two goals," he said. "They will improve the academic outcomes for all students and will provide financial sustainability and stability for the School District."
The district is poised to save $28 million yearly with the closures, Hite said.
Currently, the district utilizes only 67 percent of its educational space, Hite said. By making the closures, the district will begin using 80 percent of its space, he said.
The team that made the list looked at building quality, academic performance, building utilization and other factors before making its decisions. The district also consulted with the Philadelphia Police Department as it made its decisions so that safety concerns could be considered, Hite said.
When looking at the list, North Philadelphia appears to have taken the biggest hit with 18 of the 37 schools on the list. Northeast Philadelphia seems to have been the least impacted.
Ten high schools including Germantown, Strawberry Mansion, University City, Bok Technical and the Philadelphia Military Academy at Elverson will be closing and eight middle schools will be closed and folded into elementary schools to create K-8 programs.
Programs such as the Military Academy will be folded into other schools and all of the reconfigured schools will be given financial help to aid in their transitions, Hite said. About 17,000 students stand to be impacted by the closures.
While he understands that there will be parents and community members angered by his decision, parents have issued a referendum to the School District by voting to take their kids out of district schools and moving them to either charters or private locations, Hite said.
Closing unneeded schools and applying money toward programs that work might move the enrollment needle in the opposite direction, Hite said.
"We want to make the school district an option for parents by improving problem areas," he said.
In a statement after the closures were announced, Mayor Michael Nutter praised Hite and his team for making some tough decisions. While the changes will be hard on communities and families, the time had come for the district to act, he said.
"We couldn't afford to kick that can down the road," he said.
Public hearings on the plan are scheduled to take place in January and February, Hite said. The District could make a decision on the closures as early as March.
+ Top Story
You want honest and well-run elections. This starts by choosing the people who work at your polling place. Elections for Judge of Election and Election Inspector are on the May 21 ballot. You can read about what they do here.
This year marks the 29th anniversary of the Celebration of Black Writing Festival, one of the oldest Black literary festivals in the country. For nearly three decades, the Celebration has grown from a one-day gathering of authors and literary intellectuals to a weeklong event...
The Honorable Vincent J. Hughes Senator, 7th Senatorial District in the Pennsylvania will be the Keynote Speaker at the Fourth Saints of Valor Martial Ministry Appreciation Awards Ceremony Dinner hosted by Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church.
A Philadelphia Office of the Inspector General investigation of 19 Philadelphia Housing Development Corporation contracts has found that 11 prime contractors used JHS and Sons Supply Company to circumvent the City’s antidiscrimination requirements by...
The Franklin & Marshall College Poll is produced in conjunction with the Philadelphia Daily News, WGAL-TV (South Central PA), Pittsburgh Tribune Review, WTAE-TV (Pittsburgh), WPVI-TV6/ABC (Philadelphia), Times-Shamrock Newspapers, Harrisburg Patriot-News, and Lancaster Newspapers.
Orphaned at 18 and left to support and care for his 13-year-old brother, the odds were stacked against Ronald E. Wilson going to college, let alone graduating. So, it is not surprising that Wilson was overwhelmed by emotions upon learning he will be one of 1,934 candidates for graduation at CCP.
The Pennsylvania House of Representatives Tuesday unanimously approved H.R. 301, authored by Reps. Seth Grove, R-York, and James Roebuck, D-Phila., to designate May 7 as “Pennsylvania Breast Cancer Coalition Day.”
To better inform voters about the candidates in this statewide election, the Pennsylvania Bar Association Judicial Evaluation Commission today issued its ratings and descriptive paragraphs for all appellate judge candidates appearing on the May 21 primary ballots.