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Report: Cities Not Prepared To Deal With Closed School Properties

(File photo by Mike DeNardo)

(File photo by Mike DeNardo)

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By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The Philadelphia School District has proposed closing 37 schools, this year, but a new report suggests the district is ill-prepared to sell or re-use them.

The report by the Pew Trusts’ Philadelphia Research Initiative looked at what’s happened to closed schools in 12 cities and researcher Emily Dowdall says most of them are still sitting vacant.

“The challenge of finding new functions for old buildings is a daunting one for school districts. Typically, they’re just not set up to sell and manage real estate.”

Dowdall says the schools present special challenges because they tend to be large, old and in neighborhoods with falling population. The report uses the example of Ada Lewis — vacant since 2008 — and warns the district will have to use some new strategies if it hopes to sell its current inventory, let alone 37 more.

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