Councilwoman Bass says Philadelphia school closings proposal ‘just the start of the conversation’

After weeks of speculation, the School District of Philadelphia has identified 37 schools which, as part of a sweeping plan, could be closed at the end of this school year.

The list includes six schools in Northwest Philadelphia, most notably Germantown High School, which has been a neighborhood mainstay since it was built in 1914.

All told, the district will call for 44 district schools to be closed or relocated and about two dozen more to undergo grade changes.

District councilwoman response

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In Northwest Philadelphia, the schools slated to close are Germantown High, Theodore Roosevelt Middle School and Robert Fulton Elementary, which are located in Germantown.

Also on the list are John F. McCloskey and John L. Kinsey elementaries in West Oak Lane and Jay Cooke Elementary in Logan.

Three of those schools are located in Eighth District City Councilwoman Cindy Bass’ area. Through a spokesman, she expressed concern to NewsWorks about the announcement on Thursday.

“The school district’s announcement of proposed school closings in the 8th District is disturbing, but we recognize that this is just the beginning of the conversation,” Bass spokesman Joseph Corrigan told NewsWorks. “We also understand that Dr. Hite is new to Philadelphia and has been handed an uneven deck of cards by the Corbett administration.”

This announcement was seen, by Bass, as speaking to a need for local control of city schools, underscoring “the call for a better funding structure to ensure that our students receive a quality and competitive education.”

“In the coming weeks,” Corrigan continued, “the councilwoman will be holding public meetings throughout the district to hear the concerns of parents and stakeholders, as we seek to hear thoughts, concerns and suggestions.”

How word spread

Superintendent William Hite emailed the long list of recommendations to District personnel early Thursday morning.

The 12-page document, obtained and published by other media outlets, names a total of 44 schools that will be closed or relocated as part of the district’s ongoing Facilities Master Plan, an effort aimed, in part, at plugging a massive budget hole.

More details will be made public during a 2 p.m. press conference at district headquarters.

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