By Mike Dunn
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The School District of Philadelphia’s plan to sell a shuttered high school to Drexel University appears to be a go, and that would mean an infusion of cash for the schools next week as officials struggle to pay the bills by month’s end.
The school district’s immediate cash crisis is so severe that officials desperately need the proceeds of the sale of the now-unused University City High School to Drexel.
But that $25-million deal was threatened as Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell held up a zoning measure because of community concerns about Drexel’s plans (see related story). After weeks of talks between Drexel and the Powelton Village Civic Association, a deal was struck, allowing the sale to move forward.
“Everything worked out,” said Blackwell. “As they say, all’s well that ends well.”
Michael Jones, president of the civic group, agreed.
“I am very relieved that it’s done,” he said today. “We both got some of what we wanted.”
But Drexel must now decide whether to go closing next Monday, four days before Council gives final passage to the zoning changes, expected to come next Thursday.
Blackwell believes the university will move ahead with the closing.
“I think that will be fine. They (the district) will get their 25.5 million dollars from Drexel,” Blackwell says.
Mayor Nutter, for his part, just wants it done.
“One way or the other, it needs to get resolved. The district needs the money. The school children need the money,” the mayor said.
Meantime, Council has given final approval to a bill that helps the district next school year: it authorized the use of city sales tax revenues to give the district up to $120 million.
There was no immediate comment from Drexel University whether the school will go to closing on the shuttered high school as planned next Monday. Drexel intends to build new office space, an elementary school, and residential units on the site, at 36th and Filbert Streets.
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