9:42 PM / Sunday March 26, 2023

23 Oct 2011

Pew study examines school closings in six cities as Philadelphia prepares to shut down multiple buildings

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October 23, 2011 Category: Local Posted by:

Findings Show Modest Budget Savings; Significant Difficulties with Building Re-sales Little Impact on Student Performance Indicated in Data Available


With the School District of Philadelphia preparing to unveil its plans to close fiumerous schools. The Pew Charitable Trusts’ Philadelphia Research Initiative released a new report, Closing Public Schools in Philadelphia: Lessons from Six Urban Districts, which looks at the results of similar efforts in those other major cities.


To put what awaits Philadelphia in perspective, the study examines the experiences of Chicago, Detroit, Kansas City, Mo., Milwaukee, Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C., each of which has shuttered more than 20 schools in the last several years. It highlights the aspects of those experiences that have led to increased public acceptance for school closings.


The report finds that the operational savings achieved by multiple school closings, at least in the short run, tend to be relatively small in the context of a big-city school budget, well under $1 million per school. In Philadelphia, district officials have downplayed talk of a substantial financial Impact, saying that the amount will depend largely on sales of closed buildings.


In the districts studied, the task of putting the closed buildings to productive use, either through sale or lease, often has proved extremely difficult. At least 200 school buildings stand vacant in the six cities, Including 92 in Detroit alone.


While there is limited research on the effects of large-school closings on students, academic studies that have been conducted show that the negative impact on student performance is minimal. Student achievement often falls during the final months of a closing school’s existence but recovers within a year. And some students wind up going to higher-performing schools and doing better there.


The report also finds that the political fallout of closing schools has varied among the cities. In Washington, public discontent over the process contributed to the ouster of a mayor and a schools chancellor. In Chicago, it led to enactment of a state law governing all future closings in the city. But in Kansas City, there was little public discontent evident even after the district dosed half of the city’s public schools in two years.


Faced with 70,000 empty seats, one-third of its entire capacity, the Philadelphia school district plans to close multiple buildings over the next two years—with the hope that the surviving schools will be strengthened as a result. A list of proposed closings is expected to be announced this fall with a final vote by the School Reform Commission slated for early in 2012.


The JobProsper Expo will be holding a job fair this Sunday, Oct. 23, 2011 at Lincoln Financial Field-East Club Lounge Level from 11 am-4pm.


This event is free and open to the public and companies including Verizon, Lane Bryant, Whole Foods, New Customer Service Corporation, Securitas Security, Any Art, Adecco Staffing, Prosperiti Public Relations and many more will be be there.


Registration for the job fair is free and can be done at and there is free parking in the stadium’s K lot.


Number of Schools in Persistently Dangerous Schools List Reduced by 47%


The Pennsylvania Department of Education’s 2011-2012 list of Persistently Dangerous Schools shows that the number of schools designated Persistently Dangerous in the School District of Philadelphia declined by 47% from 19 to 10 schools.


The total number of violent incidents District-wide declined 14.25% from 4,921 to 4,220 in the 2010-2011 school year. In the high school subcategory, the total number of violent incidents also declined by 15.4% from 2,007 to 1,698 incidents in the 2010-1011 school year.


“The significant reduction in the number of schools designated as Persistently Dangerous is due in large part to the hard work and partnership between students, teachers, administrators, principals and, members of the Office of School Safety,” said Dr. Leroy Nunery, Acting Superintendent of the School District of Philadelphia.


“We are very grateful for our partnership with the Philadelphia Police Department which has provided us with the leadership of Chief Inspector Myron Patterson and the assistance of many police officers. We have put in place the recommendations from the Safe School Audit of 2009-10; trained principals and school-based teams through Safety Team meetings; deployed anti-bullying and other tactics to address climate issues; and continue to have ongoing discussions about how to improve our responses to school violence. We intend to continue to work with school communities, the Mayor, the District Attorney, and others to remain vigilant on the complexities of school climate,” said Dr. Nunery.


The schools removed from the Persistently Dangerous Schools list are:


1. Roberto Clemente Middle School

2. Stephen Douglas High School

3. Thomas Fitzsimons High School

4. Horace Furness High School

5. Simon Gratz High School

6. Oiney East High School

7. Oiney West High School

8. Overbrook High School

9. Roxborough High School

10. Edwin Vare Middle School

11. Roberts Vaux Middle School


“Strong leadership from the schools and working cooperatively with personnel from the Office of School Safety and school police officers allowed us to make considerable reductions in the number of incidents in our school,” said Chief Inspector Myron Patterson. “Our goal this year is to continue to build on the progress we made and move quickly towards eliminating every single school from the Persistently Dangerous Schools list.”


Two schools, Simon Gratz and Charles V. Audenreid High School, were converted into Charter Schools this year and thus are no longer controlled by the School District of Philadelphia. Both schools were on the Persistently Dangerous Schools list on a yearly basis.


School in the 2011-2012 Persistently Dangerous Schools are:


1. Edison High School

2. Pels High School

3. Frankford High School

4. Kensington Business High School

5.Lincoln High School

6. Northeast High School

7. Sayre High School

8.Shaw Middle School

9. South Philadelphia High School

10. Strawberry Mansion High School


Violent Crime Index District Wide. Year-to-Year Comparison Report:

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