Big Decision Day for Philly Schools
While the closing and reuse of Schenley High School has grabbed attention, the school district across the state is going to vote tonight on closing 27 public schools, an action that, if taken, is being described as one of the largest school closing plans in recent history.
Proponents of the action, including the District’s Superintendent, say that if it does not happen there might be issues with payroll or opening the District as a whole after the summer. We noted last fall how the Philadelphia School District borrowed $300 million to keep things afloat.
The District’s CAFR shows that it had 249 elementary, junior/middle, and senior public schools in FY 2003. There were 228 in FY 2011, a decline of 8% (the rate of closure in Pittsburgh has been much greater, with 88 schools in 2003 and 56 in 2011, a decrease of 36%). Twenty seven more would be a 12% decline from where the District stands now. Interestingly in both Philadelphia and Pittsburgh senior schools have stayed relatively constant; the biggest percentage drops in both districts occurred in the junior/middle school level.