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 A. Gallard
SCHOOL REFORM COMMISSION APPROVES FACILITIES MASTER PLAN RECOMMENDATIONS
PHILADELPHIA – The School Reform Commission (SRC) approved Thursday several program relocations, mergers and consolidations along with the closure of 23 schools as part of District’s commitment to better align programs and resources with student needs.
The District began work in 2010 on developing a long-range Facilities Master Plan to standardize grade configurations, increase school utilization and reduce excess building capacity.
Last December, the District initially recommended 37 schools for closure. As a result of extensive community feedback and comments, more than a dozen recommendations were modified in February. The District’s final recommendation was to close 29 buildings, including 15 elementary schools, five middle schools, nine high schools and one lease termination. Two recent recommendations to close Dimner Beeber Middle School and M.H. Stanton Elementary School were not put up for a vote on Thursday. The District currently has 242 schools.
“This was a difficult vote, but it focused on our goal to provide safe, high-quality seats while being fiscally responsible,” said Pedro Ramos, Chairman of the School Reform Commission. “By not taking action now, we would continue the deterioration of our public schools to the point where they become obsolete to the children that we have sworn to serve.”
“Our goal is to provide every child in The School District of Philadelphia with an education that prepares them for the rigors of higher education, the workplace and life beyond our doors,” said Dr. William R. Hite, Superintendent. “Our current financial challenges are undermining that goal. Closing schools with low enrollment and others with declining achievement is a step towards more effective utilization of resources and maximizing learning opportunities for all students.”
The following schools will close at the end of the 2012-13 school year:
Elementary Schools (12) – Fairhill, Joseph C. Ferguson, Robert Fulton, Leslie P. Hill, Joseph Leidy, John L. Kinsey, Anna B. Pratt, General John F. Reynolds, Walter G. Smith, George Washington, John G. Whittier, Alexander Wilson
Middle Schools (3) – George Pepper, Anna H. Shaw, Sheridan West Academy
High Schools (8) – Edward Bok Technical, Charles Carroll, Communications Technology, Stephen A. Douglas, Germantown, Robert E. Lamberton, University City, Roberts Vaux
Four schools that were recommended for closure will remain open: Thomas M. Peirce and Bayard Taylor elementary schools, Theodore Roosevelt Middle School and Paul Robeson High School. The following recommendations will take effect at the start of the 2013-14 school year:
- The Philadelphia Military Academies will merge as one high school at the Elverson building, 2118 N. 13th St. Parkway Northwest High School will relocate to the Leeds Middle School facility.
- Motivation High School will relocate to Turner Middle School, 5900 Baltimore Ave.
- Abigail Vare Elementary School will be relocated to the George Washington Elementary School building, 1198 S. 5th St.
- The Carnell Middle Years Annex at Fels will close.
The SRC also took an active role in the public process, attending community meetings and hosting three consecutive days of hearings in February for testimony from students, parents, and community members about the recommendations.
In the coming weeks, District officials will work with the school communities affected by the changes to support parents, students and staff throughout the transition process. There will be a citywide principals meeting on March 13, followed by meetings at individual schools.
For more information on the Facilities Master Plan process and the recommendations approved by the SRC, visit www.philasd.org/fmp.