Changes announced to Philadelphia school closures list

Philadelphia school closing protest

February 19, 2013 8:54:18 PM PST
Philadelphia Schools Superintendent William Hite announced Tuesday morning changes to the proposed school closings list.

40 recommendations came into the Philadelphia School District following December's original school closures announcement. Now the district has reviewed the concerns and today announced a revised proposal narrowing the closure of 37 schools to 29.

The new recommendations would spare ten schools from closures or program mergers, while adding two new schools to the list.

The ten schools being spared include Meade Elementary School, Duckrey Elementary School, Morris Elementary School, Gompers Samuel School, Overbrook Elementary, AMY at James Martin, Lankenau High School and Strawberry Mansion High School.

Closures are now recommended for M.H. Stanton School and Beeber Middle School.

The facilities master plan first announced in December drew outcry from parents and supporters who wanted all schools to remain open. Superintendent William Hite says they considered safety and which schools are considered high or low performing.

Superintendent Hite explains, "We wanted to revise it so it was the other way around. We wanted kids at higher performing or the same level - we don't want to move kids in schools with a higher incident of violence."

While today's news may feel like a victory for supporters of the ten schools that are now spared, it is bound to upset those who support the two schools added to the closure list - Beeber Middle and MH Stanton.

There are also those supporting the closures who are concerned about the bottom line. The new proposal will save several million less than originally planned - dropping from a possible $28 million in savings to $24.5 million.

Hite says they can find $3 million in additional savings.

The new closure recommendations will not be included in the scheduled March 7th vote by the School Reform Commission, but will instead be voted on at a later date.

The new list of recommendations will be presented to the SRC on Thursday.

Read the full list of Philadelphia school closures and changes here.