A grassroots group in Northwest Philadelphia says it will fight to bring education back to Germantown High School. But it may have to win over members of a Maryland-based development firm to do that.
The Concordia Group, a Maryland-based development firm, now has the opportunity to buy several Philadelphia School District properties, including the former homes of Germantown High School and nearby Robert Fulton Elementary.
On Thursday night, the School Reform Commission voted to allow Concordia and the District to begin the negotiation process for the sale of five shuttered school buildings.
The School Reform Commission is scheduled to vote tonight at its monthly action meeting on the District's proposed sale of 11 former school buildings for a sum of $14 million, according to a preliminary list of meeting resolutions.
Their community mainstay may be shuttered, but locals want to ensure that it doesn't become an eyesore.
So more than 30 members of the "Legends of Germantown" Facebook group helped spruce up the land surrounding Germantown High School on Sunday afternoon.
What began with sweeping and weeding the walkways turned into a more concerted raking and trash-collecting effort to prepare the larger expanses of grass for mowing.
The District is set to sell seven of its shuttered school buildings for a total of $37 million. The School Reform Commission will vote on resolutions to approve the proposed sales to six buyers at a meeting Thursday night.
Should the SRC approve the sale of all the properties to their proposed buyers, the District would come within $24 million of its stated revenue goal from real estate sales for this fiscal year.
by Aurora Jensen
Instead of building more charter schools, State Rep. Curtis Thomas and organizers of the William Penn Development Coalition say, the School District should refit and reopen closed neighborhood schools to address growing educational inequality in Philadelphia.
“It is time to declare a moratorium on charter schools,” Thomas said in an interview last week. He said charter schools had not lived up to his office’s expectations for district-wide improvement in education.
Dimner Beeber Middle School was headed for extinction.
Since it was barely a quarter full and posted poor academic indicators, the District planned to close it and send a few hundred Beeber 7th and 8th graders to nearby Overbrook High School.
But for Raynae Bosley, a rising 8th grader, Beeber was working.
In 7th grade, she said, “all of the teachers didn’t give up on me and they kept getting me up to the next level.”
“I really didn’t want the school to be closed at all.”
by Elizabeth Fiedler for NewsWorks
Philadelphia is trying to find new life for vacant school buildings or those that soon will be empty.
With 24 schools slated to close, a study by the University of Pennsylvania's School of Design looked at ways to reuse the structures.
Harris Steinberg said the worry is that the neighborhoods losing the schools will get more blight once the buildings are empty. Steinberg is the executive director of Penn Praxis, the clinical consulting arm of the School of Design at Penn.
by Aaron Moselle for NewsWorks
Vocational-training facility. Retirement community. Cultural center.
Those were just some of the new uses for Germantown High School's building that were discussed Friday during "What's Next? A Forum on the Future of Germantown High," a panel event co-sponsored by NewsWorks content partner NBC 10 and hosted by Solomon Jones.
The Philadelphia School District is vowing to take a hard line on two issues that have caused confusion when charter operators take over traditional public schools: special education and facilities costs.
Even as the District tries to convert three more of its schools into charters, officials and parents alike are wading through confusion over “exceptions” that past administrations granted to outside managers in previous years of the District’s Renaissance school turnaround initiative.