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Revised facilities policies approved

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

The key building blocks of the School District’s new facilities master plan are now in place.

Monday night, the School Reform Commission (SRC) unanimously approved new "Adaptive Reuse" and "Rightsizing" policies without comment. Taken together, the policies will guide the District’s efforts to close and sell up to 50 school buildings as part of a broad effort to reduce by half its current number of "empty seats," currently estimated at 70,000.

The SRC was originally scheduled to vote on the two policies last month. But following public testimony from parent activist Cecelia Thompson, the SRC moved to delay the vote and allow for further revisions.

As a result, the final Adaptive Reuse Policy now calls for the District to create “evaluation rubrics” that teams of District staff, city and legislative representatives, and community residents will use to evaluate proposals for each building listed for sale.

"We appreciate the comments and suggestions from stakeholders that helped inform these policies," said District spokesperson Elizabeth Childs following Monday’s vote. "We will now proceed this summer with clear guidance in disposing of excess property and considering rightsizing options for schools across the city."

This story is a product of a reporting partnership on the district’s facilities master plan between PlanPhilly and the the Notebook. The project is funded by a grant from the William Penn Foundation.