This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.
The School Reform Commission has scheduled its decisive vote on school closings for Thursday, March 7. The commission will be considering the District’s 44 proposed closings and relocations.
In advance of the vote, the five-member SRC has scheduled two-and-a-half days of hearings on the closings, starting at 5 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 21, and continuing from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. That leaves only about a half-hour average per school, but "every school community will have a chance to speak," said District spokesperson Fernando Gallard.
Last year, when the SRC held all-day hearings on 10 proposed school closings, a one-hour time block was provided for each school.
The District has scrapped plans for another round of neighborhood-wide community meetings on the closings in February, Gallard said. Instead, Superintendent William Hite and his staff will be scheduling individual meetings with most of the school communities affected by the plan. Gallard said the District aims to structure these meetings as "roundtable discussions" with members of each school community rather than the large auditorium-style forums that the superintendent has led over the last two months.
Finally, the District is cooperating with an independent process of school meetings on the closings plan being conducted by Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church at the schools affected. "Enon will be providing us with a report from that process before the Feb. 21 SRC hearings," Gallard said.