Doug Oliver’s position on school closures less than clear

Does Philadelphia mayoral candidate Doug Oliver support school closures?

I asked Oliver about that at Monday night’s mayoral forum, because his campaign literature suggests that he does. Take a look for yourself at the section labeled “Closure of Wrongly-Sized and Poorly-Maintained Schools.”

But when I asked him about it, he said, “I’ve never been a proponent of closing schools.”

When Oliver’s campaign tweeted his line about not wanting to close schools, I replied with an excerpt from his own website.

@DO2015PHL all due respect, your online agenda says you do. “Schools may need to be shuttered and replaced by new, suitably sized schools.”

— Shai Ben-Yaacov (@shaibenyaacov) March 31, 2015

His response:

@shaibenyaacov Clarification: I draw a distinction btwn closing schools and closing buildings. I’m not a fan of closing schools.

— Doug Oliver (@DO2015PHL) March 31, 2015

@shaibenyaacov right-sizing buildings may be necessary, but a quality school should exist in every neighborhood.

— Doug Oliver (@DO2015PHL) March 31, 2015

It seems to me that saying you’re in favor of closing wrongly sized schools and opening new, appropriately sized schools falls under the general concept of school closings. Never mind the open-ended question of just what it would cost to find a new location and open a new school — or whether those locations are even available within the community.

What do you think? Listen to my exchange with Doug Oliver below.

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