By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A Philadelphia judge has blocked the school district’s plan to sell several shut down schools as a package, and the decision could cost the district millions of dollars.

Judge Nina Wright-Padilla refused to okay a five-school package deal the district had with a Maryland developer after Point Breeze residents objected to including Walter Smith Elementary in the mix.

In the thick of a building boom, neighbors wanted Smith to remain a school, not be converted to residential use. Their attorney Deborah Cianfrani says they’re very happy:

“They hope now they’re going to get a school back into the neighborhood.”

The decision hurts the district’s efforts to unload schools it closed amid protests in 2013. The closings were touted as a cost-saving measure but the district is still maintaining 20 of them, with few offers on the others.

A spokesman says the district is likely to appeal.