Parkway Northwest parents ‘upset’ that program could be moved

A group of parents at Parkway Northwest High School for Peace and Social Justice in Mount Airy are concerned that the program may be relocated after this academic year.

The possibility of the school leaving its long-time home on the campus of New Covenant Church of Philadelphia was heavily discussed during a Home & School Association meeting this week, according to those at the meeting.

Brian Rudnick, whose daughter attends the school, said fellow parents expressed strong opposition Wednesday night to a move that would leave Mount Airy and Chestnut Hill without a public high school.

Most of all, attendees were less than thrilled about the prospect of losing a school located in a neighborhood that’s relatively safe compared to others in the city.

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“The parents were upset,” said Rudnick, who lives in Chestnut Hill.

The School District of Philadelphia has leased the space for Parkway Northwest from New Covenant since 1993. The latest agreement, a three-year-deal, cost the District more than $700,000 annually.

The lease ends on June 30, 2013.

As part of its Facilities Master Plan, the District is looking to discontinue leases it maintains at non-district facilities wherever possible.

The right-sizing effort, aimed, in part, at addressing ongoing budget woes, focuses on the closing, consolidation and selling of district-owned properties as a means of maximizing plant efficiency.

Under the plan, schools with leased facilities, like Parkway Northwest, are more vulnerable when the time comes for the District to decide which programs it will recommend the School Reform Commission consider for closure, consolidation or relocation.

Deirdre Darragh, a District spokeswoman, told NewsWorks via email that there are “no confirmed plans for a relocation of Parkway Northwest” and that the District is “currently exploring multiple options.”

Darragh could not say whether keeping Parkway Northwest at New Covenant was one of them.

“Given that we are currently reviewing a number of options for a number of schools, we cannot comment on the specifics at this time,” she said.

Currently facing a $218 million dollar budget deficit for the next year, the District is considering closing 40 schools next year.

Ethyl McGee, Parkway Northwest’s principal, said more concrete information about the possible relocation is expected in January.

” They have not definitely made a decision,” she said. ” I don’t know where it’s going to go.”


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