Philly School District Saves Some Schools, Cuts Others - FOX 35 News Orlando

Philly School District Saves Some Schools, Cuts Others

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PHILADELPHIA -

The Philadelphia School District announced significant changes Tuesday to its Master Plan for school closures.  Ten schools that were targeted to close will now stay open, while two others not on the original list for closure are now slated to close.

Meade Elementary in North Philly was one of the ten schools that wasn't supposed to survive.  So imagine how surprised parents were to hear that Meade will remain open.  Charky Wallace sounded absolutely stunned.  "That's so great, that's so wonderful," Wallace told Fox 29 outside the school.  "I don't have to take them all the way around the world now.  I can just take them here around the corner from where I live at, that's real good."

Dr. William Hite, the Philadelphia School District superintendent, made the changes after hearing from thousands of people.  "It played a significant role, we analyzed and reviewed every recommendation," Dr. Hite explained.

Parents with kids at Meade and the other nine schools may be thrilled.  But saving those schools does mean the district won't save quite as much money, a problem when it's facing more than a billion-dollar deficit over five years.  But Dr. Hite says the changes are smart.  "We found that some of the recommendations actually made a lot more sense than the ones that we had put forward.

Two schools not on the original list to close are now on the chopping block:  M.H. Stanton and Beeber Middle School.  If the new plan goes into effect, those schools will shut their doors after the end of this school year.  

Trina Benjamin is the mother of three M.H. Stanton students.  Benjamin told Fox 29 she did not anticipate this development.  Her level of shock?  "Between 1 and 10, it's a 10," Benjamin said.

Beeber Middle School, the other school that was originally supposed to remain open, is closing after parents at two other schools complained loudly.  "Gompers and Overbrook were both outperforming Beeber, which also happens to be on the persistently dangerous school list," Dr. Hite explained.

While the new list of school closures is just about complete, pending approval by the school reform commission, the district superintendent is warning this won't be the last of it.  "Unfortunately for us it's never all finalized.  AS a matter of fact in our five year financial plan it does have a smaller number of schools that must also be considered for closure moving forward."

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