The School District of Philadelphia
Office of Communications
440 N. Broad Street, Suite 102~Philadelphia, PA 19130-4015~(215)400-4040
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact: Fernando Gallard
SCHOOL DISTRICT OF PHILADELPHIA AMENDS FACILITIES MASTER PLAN RECOMMENDATIONS AS A RESULT OF COMMUNITY FEEDBACK
– Today, The School District of Philadelphia announced several changes to the
Facilities Master Plan recommendations released in December. More than a dozen recommendations
were modified as a result of the District’s review and analyses of feedback and
comments from the intensive outreach program in December, January and February.
Approximately 5,000 people attended the District’s 21 community meetings. The
District also received 40 community proposals from schools, principals,
community organizations and citizens.
The Facilities Master Plan (FMP) process, which began in 2010, seeks to enhance the efficiency of school facilities and align resources towards the greatest benefit for students. The FMP is one part of a larger set of extremely difficult actions being undertaken to meet the challenge of a $1.35 billion budget deficit over five years while committing to improve the academic outcomes for all students and ensure the financial sustainability of the District.
“I am grateful for the time and energy that our community spent voicing their concerns about the Facilities Master Plan,” said Dr. William R. Hite, Superintendent. “Although I wish we could have avoided closing any school, I do believe that the amended recommendations address the concerns from many parents, students and residents. I hope that we can move forward in minimizing disruption for our students and providing better options for families.”
The new recommendations call for the closure of 29 buildings, including 15 elementary schools, five middle schools, nine high schools and one lease termination. To accomplish the 29 building closures, the District will need to change a number of grade configurations. The new recommendations will result in an overall District building utilization rate of approximately 78 percent, a projected increase of 11 percent from the current rate of 67 percent.
As part of the Facilities Master Plan, the District is committed to working with each affected school community to develop and implement school-by-school transition plans that address the specific academic needs and safety concerns of each receiving school. The District also plans to invest millions of dollars towards academic program enhancements and renovations in receiving schools.
The reduced number of school building closures will result in lower projected annual savings. New projections indicate that the savings will be approximately $24.5 million annually. The District projects that it will achieve much lower savings in the first year of the closures due to the cost of relocating schools program and renovating receiving schools.
The complete set of recommendations will be formally presented to the School Reform Commission (SRC) on February 21 at the beginning of the school closure hearing, scheduled to start at 5:30 p.m. The SRC is scheduled to vote on the recommendations at a public meeting on March 7. A full summary of the recommendations is attached and can be found in the District’s website at: http://philasd.org/announcements/FMP-Recommendations-2-18-13.pdf.