by Neema Roshania
Protesters armed with bullhorns and signs shut down part of North Broad Street on Thursday night as the first of three consecutive school-closing hearings got underway inside the School District's building. Concerned community members showed up to tell the District their revised plan just didn't go far enough.
In Superintendent William Hite's opening statement, he noted that one-half of students in the Northwest attend school outside their neighborhood, and the current utilization rate is 64 percent. If the proposed changes go into effect, the projected savings are $122.5 million over the same period.
The District released an updated school-closings plan on Tuesday, bringing the total number of proposed school closures down to 29 from an original list of 37. Although 10 schools were removed from the list, two -- M.H. Stanton in North Philadelphia and Beeber Middle School in West Philadelphia -- were added to the list. Two schools in the Northwest, John F. McCloskey Elementary in Germantown and Jay Cooke Elementary in Logan, initially slated for closure, will remain open under the new plan. If the plan is approved, McCloskey would move from a K-6 school to K-8.