This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.
by Aaron Moselle for NewsWorks
A new grassroots group wants to transform Germantown High School’s shuttered building into a cutting-edge vocational technical school.
On Tuesday night, more than a dozen community stakeholders met to discuss the future of the hulking property, one of 24 schools that closed in June as part of the Philadelphia School District’s facilities master plan.
A focus on education
By the end of a nearly two-hour discussion, held inside the Germantown office of State Rep. Stephen Kinsey, everyone agreed that the school should remain a site for education. The high demand for vo-tech training, they reasoned, would likely draw residents from Germantown and beyond.
"They need a job now when they get out of high school," said the Rev. Chester Williams, president of the Chew and Belfield Neighbors Club.
The task force may work toward building a new charter school or attracting an outside entity or entities, such as the city’s building trade unions, to set up shop. No matter what, some alumni in the room felt strongly that Germantown High School should be incorporated into the name of the new endeavor.
Pursuing a charter could be an uphill battle. Due to the District’s budget crisis, new charter school applications are not being accepted.
Julie Stapleton-Carroll, who is spearheading the task force, doesn’t think that would be a deal-breaker.