Deal on after-school use of facilities to save Philly district $1.2 million

Officials have struck a deal to keep gyms and theaters in Philadelphia’s public schools open on afternoons and weekends. A money-saving effort had threatened to shut down community sports leagues that use school facilities for free.

The city of Philadelphia is putting up $175,000 to keep evening and weekend athletic and other recreation department programs open at public schools.  However Mayor Michael Nutter said Thursday fewer schools will be used.

“The city will work with the district and consolidate its recreation department program from the 83 current school buildings that we use to 48, saving the school district money,” Nutter said. “That will mean real savings in terms of staff time and energy cost for the school district.”

School Reform Commission Chairman Pedro Ramos said the compromise keeps recreation department programs from basketball to plays intact while saving the financially troubled school district money.

“We really still have easily another $40 million to cut before the end of June, so the net effect of this compromise takes us part of the way there,” Ramos said.

School district officials anticipates the deal will save $1.2 million.

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