River Wards schools among those recommended to close

Dis­trict Su­per­in­tend­ent Hite an­nounced last week the re­com­men­ded clos­ures, mer­gers and oth­er po­ten­tial changes for pub­lic schools across the city.

On Thursday, Dec. 13, Phil­adelphia School Dis­trict Su­per­in­tend­ent Wil­li­am R. Hite. Jr. an­nounced an un­pre­ced­en­ted list of re­com­mend­a­tions for school clos­ures, grade changes, mer­gers, re­lo­ca­tions and pro­gram co-loc­a­tions.

Sev­er­al of the schools on the list are in the River Wards, with three re­com­men­ded for clos­ure.

The plan could af­fect 17,000 stu­dents and 2,000 staffers, and could save the dis­trict about $28 mil­lion, ac­cord­ing to The Phil­adelphia In­quirer.

The School Re­form Com­mis­sion is sched­uled to vote on the pro­posed clos­ures in March fol­low­ing a series of pub­lic meet­ings and com­munity for­ums.

Fol­low­ing the an­nounce­ment Thursday, protests broke out around the city. One was or­gan­ized by the Phil­adelphia Co­ali­tion Ad­voc­at­ing for Pub­lic Schools, or PCAPS.

An­oth­er, on Sat­urday, was or­gan­ized by Phil­adelphi­ans Al­lied for a Re­spons­ible Eco­nomy, or PhARE, out­side dis­trict headquar­ters, 440 N. Broad St.

PCAPS said in a press re­lease it has been ur­ging dis­trict lead­er­ship and the School Re­form Com­mis­sion to ad­opt a morator­i­um on all school clos­ings un­til full com­munity-im­pact stud­ies are con­duc­ted and re­leased to the pub­lic. 

“It is im­per­at­ive that we fully un­der­stand the costs as­so­ci­ated with main­tain­ing sud­denly va­cant school build­ings – such as up­keep, clean­ing or se­cur­ity fees – and the im­pact these empty build­ings will have on sur­round­ing prop­erty val­ues,” said Quan­isha Smith, a PCAPS rep­res­ent­at­ive.

“It is es­sen­tial that we vet the cost of trans­port­ing thou­sands of stu­dents to new schools, and de­term­ine wheth­er these schools and neigh­bor­hoods will be able to ef­fect­ively ab­sorb an in­flux of new stu­dents.”

If ap­proved by the School Re­form Com­mis­sion, the fol­low­ing changes will be ef­fect­ive June 30, 2013, ac­cord­ing to the dis­trict’s Fa­cil­it­ies Mas­ter Plan and Sum­mary of Re­com­mend­a­tions:

A.M.Y. (Al­tern­at­ive for Middle Years) at James Mar­tin School, 3380 Rich­mond St., grades 6 through 8Re­com­men­ded for co-loc­a­tion with Penn Treaty Middle School, 600 E. Thompson St. The school will re­tain its city­wide ad­mis­sions status.

Charles Car­roll High School, 2700 E. Au­burn St., grades 9 through 12 Re­com­men­ded to close. Stu­dents in grades 9 through 11 will be giv­en the op­tion to trans­fer to: Kens­ing­ton Busi­ness; Kens­ing­ton Urb­an Edu­ca­tion Academy; Kens­ing­ton Health Sci­ences; Mast­baum Area Vo­ca­tion­al Tech­nic­al School (stu­dents en­rolled in the Ac­count­ing and Mar­ket­ing Ca­reer and Tech­nic­al Edu­ca­tion pro­grams will be re­as­signed to Kens­ing­ton Busi­ness).

Stephan A. Douglas High, 2700 E. Hunt­ing­ton St., grades 9 through 12 Re­com­men­ded to close. Stu­dents in grades 9 through 11 will be giv­en the op­tion to trans­fer to: Kens­ing­ton busi­ness; Kens­ing­ton Urb­an Edu­ca­tion Academy; Kens­ing­ton Health Sci­ences (stu­dents en­rolled in the Com­mer­cial Art Ca­reer and Tech­nic­al Edu­ca­tion pro­gram will go to Mast­baum Area Vo­ca­tion­al Tech­nic­al School; stu­dents en­rolled in the Build­ing Main­ten­ance Ca­reer and Tech­nic­al Edu­ca­tion pro­gram will be offered re­as­sign­ment in­to the Car­pentry, Weld­ing or Elec­tric­al CTE pro­grams at Mast­baum.

Sherid­an West School, 3701 Frank­ford Ave., grades 7 and 8Re­com­men­ded to close. Ini­tially ap­proved for clos­ure with in­tent to drop a grade each year. Now clos­ure will be ef­fect­ive June 2013. Stu­dents will re­lo­cate to Penn Treaty Middle School.

Hor­a­tio B. Hack­ett Ele­ment­ary School, 2161 E. York St., grades kinder­garten through 6 Re­com­men­ded for grade re­or­gan­iz­a­tion in Sept. 2013. Stu­dents in grades 5 and 6 will trans­ition to Penn Treaty Middle School.

Man­aging Ed­it­or Mi­kala Jam­is­on can be reached at 215-354-3113 or at mjam­is­on@bsmphilly.com.

You can reach at mjamison@bsmphilly.com.

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