In the first voting meeting of the School Reform Commission since Pedro Ramos resigned as chairman, the remaining four members of the panel will meet tomorrow to act on a list of resolutions that include a large number of donation acceptances.
A District spokesman said that Commissioner Wendell Pritchett will preside over the meeting as acting chair, as he has done when Ramos missed a meeting. Gov. Corbett still has not announced a replacement for Ramos. The governor's selected candidate will have to be confirmed by the state Senate.
Real estate listings for all the closed school buildings are now posted on the Philadelphia School District's website for interested buyers to peruse.
In a deal struck last week to get Philadelphia's schools a promised $50 million from the city, Mayor Nutter and Council President Darrell Clarke finally came to terms on a plan to have the District sell the vacant properties with the aid of the city's Philadelphia Industrial Development Corp.
The District now needs to raise $61 million from the sale of properties by the end of the fiscal year in order to keep its budget in balance. For fiscal 2014, it was already counting on $11 million from building sales. So, the Nutter-Clarke agreement to have the city's promised $50 million come from selling buildings with the city's help did not improve the District's fiscal outlook. Under the plan, the District doesn't get any new money, just help in getting its own money quicker and, possibly, a better value for the properties.
A meeting on "school report cards" will take place from 6 to 7:30 tonight at Baldi Middle School in Northeast Philadelphia. It is the fourth of five such meetings held by the District to gather community feedback for a new grading system for schools.
This summer the District announced plans for a new school report card to replace the school annual reports and faulty School Performance Index (SPI) scores that have served as measures of accountability. An earlier series of forums was scrapped after two contentious meetings where angry parents questioned the motives behind rolling out a new and costly accountability system during a time of tremendous financial and structural instability and the value of the project.
At the time, a District spokesman indicated that the reason for the cancellation was the unstructured, off-point nature of the discussions, saying the District was not seeking input on whether it should proceed with school report cards, but rather, what information they should contain.
Solomon Charter School abruptly announced that it would be closing, having opened only in September 2012. A letter, written by the school's CEO and principal David Weathington, was posted on the school's website making the announcement to parents.
In time for the new school year, the District has redrawn its school catchment areas that determine which schools students are eligible to attend. The new boundaries were needed after the closing of 24 schools this year, sending thousands of students to new neighborhood schools.
The new catchment maps are viewable using the District's School Finder tool.
According to a District spokesperson, the redrawing of boundaries was directed by Deputy Chief of Staff Danielle Floyd. Neither the public nor the School Reform Commission was formally involved in the remapping.