This page is the place to keep up with the facilities master planning process that was launched by the School District in 2010 and continues still in 2013.
In its latest phase, the District is proposing to close or relocate as many as 44 schools in time for September 2013.
Since 2010, the District has been working on a facilities master plan designed to "right-size" its physical plant. Officials say the goal is to maximize educational availability, quality, and equity. The plan will involve closing, consolidating, and selling schools. The District has estimated that it has as many as 70,000 empty seats in school buildings and would like to reduce that number significantly.
Decisions on how to manage these changes call for wide community dialogue and close collaboration between the School District and city government. State law mandates public input on decisions to close schools, including a public announcement, a public hearing and a 90-day window for comment before schols can be closed. But past school closing decisions have not always been preceded by a robust public discussion.
In 2011-12, the Notebook partnered with PlanPhilly to cover this process and inform and help foster that dialogue. Articles on the facilities plan are found on both organizations' websites. In 2012-13, the Notebook has continued that coverage, as closings are proposed on an even wider scale.
The Notebook's coverage of school facilities and closings has been supported by grants from the William Penn Foundation for 2011-12 and the Thomas Skelton Harrison Foundation for 2012. Neither foundation exercised control over the content of this coverage.
A parent spoke, and the School Reform Commission listened.
In an unusual, instantaneous response to public testimony, the SRC voted Wednesday to table until June decisions about the District’s new proposed Adaptive Reuse and Rightsizing policies regarding the closing of schools and the disposal of vacated properties.
The School District has revised its proposed policy governing the sale of shuttered District buildings so that it can offer discounts to some prospective buyers, but not disclose the amount of any such discounts to the public.
The School Reform Commission is scheduled to vote on the “Adaptive Reuse Policy” on Wednesday. The policy will govern the sale of up to 50 District buildings expected to be closed in the next three years.
The School District of Philadelphia hopes to preserve its declining ability to manage the growth of charter schools by offering a discount on unused school buildings only to charters that agree not to expand their enrollment.
But will charter school operators – who are gaining growing clout under the school-choice-focused Corbett administration – go for it?