After pushback from parents, new options proposed for displaced Ben Franklin, SLA students

At the School District headquarters on  Monday morning, parents and students at a packed meeting discuss the closures of Ben Franklin and Science Leadership Academy high schools because of asbestos remediation. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

At the School District headquarters on Monday morning, parents and students at a packed meeting discuss the closures of Ben Franklin and Science Leadership Academy high schools because of asbestos remediation. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

More than 1,000 displaced Philadelphia high school students could soon learn where they’ll attend school for the next few months.

A task force recommended that students from Benjamin Franklin High School relocate to the former campus of Khepera Charter School in North Philadelphia, near Temple University Hospital.

The same task force suggested students from Science Leadership Academy spend the rest of the calendar year at a campus that includes school district headquarters and a nearby synagogue, both located on the northern rim of Center City.

The SLA-Ben Franklin Task Force is now soliciting feedback from parents on the newly proposed options and said a final decision will be made tomorrow at 11 a.m.

It now seems likely neither student body will be relocated to the pair of comprehensive, neighborhood high schools that the school district first proposed — and that parents roundly rejected.

Students from Benjamin Franklin High School and Science Leadership Academy have been out of school for nine days so far this year because of construction mishaps and the discovery of exposed asbestos in the boiler room of their shared building at Broad and Spring Garden streets.

At a fiery town hall on Monday, school district officials floated the idea of moving students to South Philadelphia High School and Strawberry Mansion High School as soon as Thursday.

Parents were not pleased with those proposals, arguing that the comprehensive neighborhood high schools were unsafe and unsuitable.

District officials then went back to the drawing board and convened a task force to come up with new alternatives.

At that same meeting, Superintendent William Hite said students would not return to their home campus at Broad and Spring Garden until construction on the site is completely finished. The district expects that will take until the end of December.

School officials have spent $37 million renovating the site in order to locate Benjamin Franklin and Science Leadership Academy in the same building.

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