By Mike DeNardo
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The School District of Philadelphia on Tuesday launched a series of public meetings as it begins the process of permanently closing dozens of school buildings.
The district is gathering input at seven public meetings, as it decides which and how many schools to close. The district’s deputy for strategic initiatives Danielle Floyd says no specific number of closures has been decided. But she says the district has concluded it can no longer pay for underutilized buildings.
“I think what’s important for people to understand is that our five-year plan assumes $33 million in savings from school closures annually,” Floyd says. “That could be as few as 29 schools to as many as 57.”
The district in early November is expected to identify which schools are targeted for closure.
Ten community organizations are engaged in getting the public involved. One of the groups is the Philadelphia Education Fund. PEF’s Director of Civic Engagement Brian Armstead says the community meetings will allow the public an opportunity to play a role in the closure process.
“People should be able to give their ideas, their thoughts on this part of the process, as well,” says Armstead. “To actually even shape the recommendations that will end up coming down the road.”
Here is the list of Philadelphia School District community meetings:
- Tuesday, September 25, 2012 | 10-12PM | SDP Education Center (440 N. Broad St.)
- Tuesday, September 25, 2012 | 5:30-7:30PM | Center in the Park (5818 Germantown Avenue)
- Saturday, September 29, 2012 | 10-12PM | West Philadelphia High School (4901 Chestnut Street)
- Tuesday, October 2, 2012 | 5:30-7:30PM | Kensington CAPA High School (1901 N. Front Street)
- Thursday, October 4, 2012 | 5:30-7:30PM | Bright Hope Baptist Church (1601 N. 12th Street)
- Wednesday, October 10, 2012 STUDENT FORUM | 4:00-6:00PM | SDP Education Center (440 N. Broad St.)
- Saturday, October 13, 2012 | 10-12PM | CAPA High School (901 S. Broad Street)