Philadelphia School District proposes unprecedented school closures


Dive Summary:

  • Facing a cumulative budget deficit of $1.1 billion over the next five years, the Philadelphia School District is planning an unprecedented closure of 37 of its 237 public schools by June.
  • If the proposal is approved, the district says it can improve academic standards by diverting money used to maintain the crumbling infrastructure in several schools to hire teachers and upgrade classroom equipment.
  • The proposal was announced Dec. 13 and new superintendent William R. Hite Jr. says that without the closures, which would affect 17,000 students and 1,100 teachers, the district's finances will deteriorate to the point that the district itself would be endangered.

From the article:

Like many public schools here, University City High School is underused, underfinanced and underperforming. Nearly 80 percent of its 11th-grade students read below grade level in statewide tests this year, while 85 percent failed to make the grade in math. Last year, about only a quarter of its students participated in precollege testing like the SAT. Largely because of the lure of local charter schools, the school is one-quarter full, with fewer than 600 students for its nearly 2,200 seats. ...

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