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Facilities plan details coming on Thursday

This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.

While the District has announced there will be no school closings this fall, other long-awaited details of the facilities master plan will be released Thursday at a special School Reform Commission meeting.

According to a District spokesperson, the presentation will include:

  • A draft of its facilities master plan detailing the education framework, current state of the District’s facilities, and projected enrollment and demographic trends.
  • Highlights of the plan, including the three phases of adjustments to occur over the next three school years.
  • Recommendations for the first phase to be implemented for the start of the 2011-12 school year.
  • A framework for decisions and a timeline for the second and third phases.
  • A proposed policy related to adaptive reuse of buildings and a proposed revision of a policy outlining the criteria for right-sizing schools.
  • School-specific data on utilization, facility condition, and school performance (a draft report with these data was obtained and published by the Notebook in March).
  • Estimate of approximate cost savings.
  • Working definitions of school closing, co-location, and consolidation.
  • District’s position on what actions require a hearing (closings, consolidations, and co-locations–or just closings).

The District says it is implementing the master plan in order to address long-ignored building maintenance needs, distribute resources more equitable throughout its facilities, and run more cost-effectively.

While there will be no school closings this September, the plan will likely include co-locations and consolidations. School closings are likely in future years of the three-year plan.

The District’s current “right-sizing” policy offers definitions of closings, consolidations, and co-locations. The District is proposing revisions to that policy, adopted in August 2009, “to better align with the changes that will occur under FMP,” according to spokesperson Elizabeth Childs.

It is unclear whether the mandatory 90-day window and hearing process before a school closure will also be required before a school co-location or consolidation. This point is expected to be one of many questions clarified at tomorrow’s meeting.

To share the plan with the community and to hear feedback, the District will be holding a third round of community meetings on the facilities master plan starting this Saturday.

Thursday’s special SRC meeting will begin at 5 p.m. in the District headquarters at 440 N. Broad St.

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