Council still pushing for sale of Philly school buildings to raise $50 million

 The city of Philadelphia is selling the West Philadelphia High School building, located on 4700 Walnut St., for $6.5 million. (NewsWorks, file)

The city of Philadelphia is selling the West Philadelphia High School building, located on 4700 Walnut St., for $6.5 million. (NewsWorks, file)

Philadelphia City Council is moving forward with its plan to sell off vacant school district properties to come up with cash for the district.

Council plans to pass a bill soon to begin selling off properties to raise $50 million for the schools.

Since the plan was first publicized, developers have been asking for information on shuttered buildings, Councilman Curtis Jones said.

“That represents eight properties that have immediate interest, letters of offers have come through for these properties,” he said. “The total value of these properties is $106 million.”

Council President Darrell Clarke said he doesn’t want properties owned by the district to deteriorate such as one on 28th Street near Lehigh in North Philly.

“Some people might think it’s OK to allow something like this to continue to be in neighborhoods,” Clarke said Wednesday. “It’s ridiculous. It’s been going on four years … every other month, we have to call to get the tires picked up, the weeds cut.”

Mayor Michael Nutter has proposed extending a 1-cent city sales tax to raise the $50 million the city has promised the district — and as a continuing source of funding.

School district officials say they are indifferent about how the money is raised as long as the funds are delivered.

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