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District to present final school closings recommendations

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At a daylong series of public hearings Saturday, March 3, School District staff will present final recommendations on school closings to the School Reform Commission, and the public will have a chance to testify. The SRC will vote on the recommendations March 29. 

Notebook Contributing Editor Dale Mezzacappa and reporter Benjamin Herold will provide live online updates from the hearing. Friday night, Herold discussed the hearing on NewsWorks Tonight at 6 p.m. on WHYY.

The meeting starts at 8:30 a.m and the schedule is:

  • 8:30-9:30 a.m. E.M. Stanton Elementary

  • 9:30-10:30 a.m. Harrison Elementary

  • 10:30-11:30 a.m. Pepper Middle

  • 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. FitzSimons High closure, grade reconfiguration at Rhodes High

  • 1-2 p.m. Sheppard Elementary

  • 2-3 p.m. Philadelphia HS for Business

  • 3-4 p.m. Sheridan West Academy Middle

  • 4-5 p.m. Drew Elementary

  • 5-6 p.m. Levering Elementary

  • 6-7 p.m. AMY Northwest relocation

The District held 21 meetings for community feedback on the initial recommendation to close nine schools. The schools were selected based on a variety of factors including the condition of the school building, the number of students compared to building capacity, and the school's academic performance.

Yesterday, the District released new School Performance Index rankings of academic performance. Scores range from 1 to 10, with 1 being the rank of schools in the top decile. Schools facing closure have SPIs that range from 2 to 9.

Each hearing will include a 10-minute presentation from District staff, 40 minutes for testimony from registered speakers, and 10 minutes for questions from the SRC. State law requires a public hearing before a school can be closed, but the SRC opted to suspend the school code requiring a 90-day window between the hearing and a final vote.

The Notebook is partnering with PlanPhilly to cover this process and inform and help foster dialogue. This coverage is supported by a grant from the William Penn Foundation.

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