School closings announcement | Ads for school funds | tepid support for commercial zoning revisions | Council ‘ripping apart’ the new zoning code | Open crime data | OpenDataPhilly legit

Good Morning, Streeters. Here’s your Thursday morning Buzz:

Today the School District of Philadelphia will announce an “unprecedented” round of public school closures for next fall. The Public School Notebook reports that some 40 schools are likely slated for closure as the district radically reorganizes, motivated by its dire financial situation.

So broke is the school district that City Council is willing to negotiate a community benefits agreement allowing a building-size advertising wrap for the Electric Factory in exchange for a portion of the revenue to go toward three local schools, Ryan Briggs reports for Hidden City Daily. Some think this ad hoc school financing is a way to help plug the funding gaps. But others question if visual pollution a fair exchange for 20% of the ad revenue, and whether or not community benefits like this one are even enforceable. So is the city selling the pubic environment down the river for a drop in the school-funding bucket?

This morning City Council’s Rules Committee will resume discussion of Councilman Brian O’Neill’s proposals to roll back a portion of the new zoning code by restricting more uses along neighborhood commercial corridors. PlanPhilly’s Jared Brey reports that support for O’Neill’s legislation is in doubt. Although O’Neill revised his bill, Councilwoman Maria Quiñones-Sánchez urged her colleagues not to support it in its current form, citing the burdensome reviews it would create for her district.

Members of the Zoning Code Commission responsible for creating the city’s new zoning code are dismayed at seeing City Council dismember the code before it’s even had the chance to work, reports the Inquirer. Former Councilman Frank DiCicco who was instrumental in getting zoning reform off the ground is also displeased. “They’re ripping it apart already,” DiCicco told Troy Graham. “If I were there, I’d be making the case for, ‘Let’s see how this works out.”

Philly crime mapping just got easier reports Technically Philly. The City released raw data for major crimes since 2006 on yesterday, as well as two APIs  – one showing incidents in the last month and another going back to 2006.

In other Philly open data news, the city will designate OpenDataPhilly as its official open data portal, Philadelphia Public Interest Information Network said on its blog. Open Data Philly is stewarded by PPIIN (now named Axis Philly), so before anything happens a memorandum of understanding and revised open data policies must be completed.

The Buzz is Eyes on the Street’s morning news digest. Have a tip? Send it along.

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