School Reform Commission Approves 8 Schools for Closure

The SRC voted to close the schools in a bid to become more efficient and halt enrollment declines

Members of the School Reform Commission voted to close eight public schools in a bid to become more efficient and compensate for major enrollment declines.

The eight schools approved for closure are:

  • Harrison Elementary School
  • George Pepper Middle School
  • Fitzsimons High School
  • Philadelphia High School for Business and Technology
  • Rhodes High School
  • Sheridan West Academy
  • Charles R. Drew Elementary School
  • William Levering Elementary School

Also approved was the relocation of the AMY Northwest program. E.M. Stanton and Sheppard Elementary schools will remain open.

District officials proposed the closures last fall in a bid save money on an aging infrastructure. Many community members appealed the plan at a day-long hearing earlier this month.

“This SRC has been very clear in its commitment to maintain its focus on student achievement while we work toward fiscal stability,” SRC Chairman Pedro Ramos said.  “Tonight’s vote reflects those priorities.  The decision to close a school is never an easy one, but we are doing what we need to do to improve the opportunities available to our students while working within our means.  And we are doing it the right way, with a process that is open, transparent, and inclusive.”

In the coming days, the District will communicate directly with the school communities involved in Thursday night’s voting, to notify parents, students and staff of the next step procedures.

The Philadelphia School District has lost about 52,000 students over the past decade, due partly to changing demographics and an increase in charter schools. It now serves about 146,000 students.

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Copyright AP - Associated Press
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