By Mike DeNardo
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The Philadelphia school district made the controversial decision to close down two dozen public schools this year.
As the year began, 37 schools were on the list for permanent closure, including some of the most storied schools in the system, including Germantown, Bok and University City High Schools.
Students held rallies to save their schools, including one at Carroll High:
“If this school closes down, I don’t know what I’m going to do,” this student said.
The School Reform Commission said with declining enrollment and rising maintenance costs, the closures were necessary to try to stem a budget deficit projected to top $1-billion over five years.
In March, at a raucous and emotional meeting, the SRC voted to close 23 schools, angering this woman:
“This is wrong! Wrong what this city has done! Wrong what this administration has done! We need everybody in this city to stand up and say it shouldn’t be done!”
A month later, the SRC closed M.H. Stanton Elementary, bringing the year’s school closure tally to 24.
In June, 99-year-old Germantown High School held its final graduation, ever…
“I’m sort of at a loss for words,” Alumni Association president Vera Peeples-Primus said. “It’s years worth of hard work, and everyone talks about the negative and nobody talks about the positive.”
The district has put many of the closed school properties up for sale.