This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.
At January’s School Reform Commission meetings, the SRC:
-Approved the execution of an agreement with Mural Arts Advocates to install murals at 12 schools over the next 18 months at no cost to the School District. The estimated value of the donated work is $450,000. Murals will be installed at nine elementary schools (Meredith, Kearny, Kinsey, Martha Washington, McCloskey, Hartranft, Nebinger, Bache-Martin, Waring) and three high schools (Constitution, Ben Franklin, and Furness). The District’s mural arts initiative had been discontinued in 2007 due to budget cuts.
-Heard a report on the District’s budget indicating that the current year deficit is estimated at $33 million. Increased costs of charter schools and the costs of the new student Transpass program were major contributors to the larger-than-expected figure. Interim CEO Brady expressed confidence that the deficit would be eliminated by June 30.
-Heard from several speakers from student and community groups about District plans to restructure 70 schools categorized as “Corrective Action II” for their failure to meet performance targets for five years or more. Speakers urged the SRC not to turn over additional schools to “education management organizations” with questionable track records.