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.
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 School Reform Commission approved the sales of six vacant properties Thursday night, most of them schools that were closed within the last two years.
It also ratified a contract with the Commonwealth Association of School Administrators, which represents principals and assistant principals, who will reduce their work year and see lower salaries.
The properties will be sold for a total of $37 million under the current agreements, but the District will net $25.8 million after closing costs and other costs are taken out, said Fran Burns, the District's operations manager.
After losing two dozen schools last year -- on top of six in 2012 -- the School District of Philadelphia won't be seeing any closings in 2014.
Superintendent William Hite announced Friday afternoon that the District would not be proposing any school closures this year.
There is no word yet on whether the School District plans to recommend additional school closings to the School Reform Commission in 2014.
"A final decision has not been made yet," said spokesperson Fernando Gallard on Friday.
Just-released 2013 enrollment numbers from the School District show that the overwhelming majority of students displaced from closed schools ended up in other District schools.
The new reports on District, charter, and alternative school enrollments reveal some significant movement of students between schools this year and include the first publicly released data about where the students who were displaced by 24 closings in June have ended up.
School District officials say that just over 1,500 students more than the number that they budgeted for are enrolled in charter schools this year, opening up a new $12 million to $15 million hole in its budget.
Spokesman Fernando Gallard said that the District was not prepared to say yet what steps it may take to close the gap.
The charter law requires the District to pay charters for each Philadelphia student enrolled. The District itself does not get money for those students from the state or the city on a per capita basis.
"We are closely monitoring the District's monthly revenues and expenditures to determine possible savings in order to meet the new cost estimates for charter schools," Gallard said. The District had already allocated 29 percent of its $2.4 billion operating budget, or $708 million, in payments to charter schools.
Naseem Bey, a 10th grader at Kensington Creative and Performing Arts High School (KCAPA), talked of textbooks with 10 pages missing.
If you need a particular page, “you might have to find someone with that page,” Bey said.
Khyeanna Mallette, a junior at Philadelphia Military Academy, remembered leaving a physical education class with a headache and having to get an ice bag from the school’s secretary because there was no nurse on duty that day.
by Naveed Ahsan
Videographer Amy Yeboah premiered her films Goodbye to City Schools and (Re) Inscribing Meaning on Wednesday night at the Scribe Video Center. The screenings followed the opening of an exhibit of photos by Philadelphia School Closings Photo Collective, a project curated by photographers Katrina Ohstrom and Melissa Holman, which showcases images taken in the spring of 2013 by 10 photographers, including Notebook photographer Harvey Finkle.
Goodbye to City Schools focuses on four of the 24 Philadelphia District schools that closed in June. (Re) Inscribing Meaning is about the choices that African American families make regarding their children's education.
Videographer Amy Yeboah worked this summer with the Notebook to complete a 30-minute documentary about this year’s wave of school closings. It’s called Goodbye to City Schools.
The project took her inside four of the 24 schools that closed for good in June: Germantown High School, Bok Technical High School, Fairhill Elementary School, and University City High School. The project was made possible through a graduate fellowship position at the Notebook sponsored by the Samuel S. Fels Fund.
At 7 p.m. on Oct. 16, the documentary will be screened at an event hosted by the Notebook and the nonprofit Scribe Video Center, 4212 Chestnut St., as part of Scribe’s Storyville series.