School Commissioners face tough choices

    The Philadelphia School Reform Commissioners are scheduled to vote on millions of dollars worth of school management contracts, as well as a controversial proposal to close a North Philadelphia high school that was once the jewel of the system.

    The Philadelphia School Reform Commission will have a full plate when it meets Wednesday. Commissioners are scheduled to vote on millions of dollars worth of school management contracts, as well as a controversial proposal to close a North Philadelphia high school that was once the jewel of the system.

    Listen:
    [audio: 090623bhschool.mp3]

    When it opened in 1974, William Penn High represented the state of the art. Now district officials say it’s not worth saving. Built for over 2,500 students, William Penn now enrolls just 600, and officials say it needs over thirty million dollars worth of renovations. They want to close the school permanently. A neighborhood coalition led by State Representative Curtis Thomas has vowed to stop them.

    Thomas: You know that William Penn might be the only high school with a green roof. it might be the only high school in the city with a TV and media room. It has a fitness center, it has an Olympic-sized swimming pool.

    Thomas plans to introduce legislation that would prohibit districts from closing schools without a plan for the empty buildings, and district officials say right now, they have no such plan for the William Penn.

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