By Mike DeNardo

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The School District of Philadelphia and the City of Philadelphia have cut a deal to keep city school buildings open during the weekends for recreation programs.

Earlier this week, the school district announced a plan to save $2.8 million by closing its school buildings to recreation programs on the weekends and at night (see related story).

Now, the city and the school district have basically agreed to save those weekend programs.  The city has agreed to  consolidate its recreation programs — now in 83 buildings — down to 48 buildings.

Priority was given to games and artistic performances.

Some practices might have to be held with “grouping up” — having two basketball practices, for example, at half court instead of one group having the entire court.

School Reform Commission chairman Pedro Ramos, at a news conference this afternoon, also adjusted the projected savings from the original plan.  He said the actual saving was actually about $1.2 million, when all is said and done.  The city will be kicking in $175,000 of that amount.

The bottom line for community groups in the Philadelphia area is that they will be able to have their basketball programs and their drama programs and any recreation programs that they had on the weekends in Philadelphia schools.

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