What could possibly justify the closing of Northeast High School, the largest school in the city and each year bursting at the seams? Why would anyone suggest closing four elementary schools in Olney, a neighborhood that once housed some of the most overcrowded schools in the District?
We may not find out the answers to these questions, but we know now that these were some of the ludicrous ideas proposed by the Boston Consulting Group in a long-secret 2012 report presented in a private meeting to the School Reform Commission.
BCG called for closing 88 District-managed schools, which would have displaced a conservative estimate of 22,000-31,000 students districtwide – more than triple the number of students displaced by the actual 2013 school closings. A five-year plan sought the removal and reassignment of up to 45,000 students, more than one-third of the District.
For the second year in a row, School District of Philadelphia officials will not be proposing any closures of District schools.
"At this time, we are not making any recommendations to close schools next year," School District spokesperson Fernando Gallard confirmed in an email, without elaboration.
Truebright Science Academy in the Olney section is touting its new afterschool program funded with a sizable federal grant. The question is whether the school will be open long enough for the tutoring and enrichment initiative to have much of an impact.
The Pennsylvania Department of Education in late September awarded the charter school on Roosevelt Boulevard $400,000 in federal funds a year over three years -- $1.2 million total -- to run an afterschool and summer program to enhance college readiness.
But Truebright is in an ongoing struggle with the School District of Philadelphia, which wants the school closed.
Sparks flew at a meeting for parents on Monday night at Walter D. Palmer Leadership Learning Partners Charter High School. The school's basement cafeteria became a battleground between the school's founder and a throng of incensed parents.
Many had learned only that morning that the high school program at the school's Tacony campus was permanently closing and that their children would have to find another school two months into the year.
"I'm frustrated with Walter Palmer. I'm frustrated with the District. I'm frustrated with everybody," said parent Courtney Dennis.
More than 20 Germantown residents gathered Saturday at the Daniel E. Rumph II Recreation Center to learn more about the proposal to turn the now-empty Germantown High School site into a community charter school.
Julie Stapleton-Carroll, who would serve as Germantown Community Charter School principal should the idea gain Charter School Office approval, led the meeting.
Gregory Bonaparte Jr. loved his 5th-grade class at Tanner Duckrey Elementary School.
“Every time it was Friday, I wanted to go back to school,” said the 12-year-old. “That’s where my friends were.”
His disposition changed when he came back for 6th grade. Suddenly, Duckrey had hundreds of new students and practically doubled in size.
Hearings began today on the School District’s effort to deauthorize and shut down Walter D. Palmer Leadership Learning Partners Charter School, even as the founder’s plan to steer the school through its immediate financial crisis has apparently fallen through.
Speaking after this morning’s testimony, Palmer said he does not know how much cash the 1,200-student school has on hand or how much longer it can stay open without some kind of fresh financial support.
Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane has filed criminal charges against two more former Philadelphia principals.
Barbara McCreery, 61, former principal of Communications Technology High School, and Arthur "Larry" Melton, 70, former principal of Bok Technical High School, were arrested Thursday as part of the state's ongoing investigation into adult cheating on standardized tests.
They were taken into custody and charged with crimes of "tampering with public records or information, forgery, and tampering with records or identification," according the attorney general's office.
The scuffle between the Philadelphia School District and Walter Palmer Leadership Learning Partners Charter School may soon create more than 1,000 educational refugees — students in search of desks.
The charter's founder, Walter Palmer, says the school doesn't have enough funding to keep its doors open all year. In a telephone conversation Tuesday, Palmer would not provide a specific date by which the school would need to close, but earlier reports suggested Oct. 1.