This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.
Just 24 hours before the School Reform Commission meets to hear final comments and then vote on 27 school-closing recommendations, the District staff has posted answers to dozens of detailed questions raised by the School Reform Commission during and after February hearings – about specific closing plans, the merits and disadvantages of alternative proposals, and the costs of transitions.
According to one document providing a more detailed breakdown of school-by-school transition costs than has been previously released, the total transition costs in the operating budget are estimated at $21.3 million. This means that in the first year of the closings plan, the projected $24.5 million in savings from school closings would be mostly offset by one-time costs. An additional $4.1 million in capital budget costs is projected.
District officials have previously acknowledged that the one-time transition costs would be "significant" but argued that the recurring savings in future years justify acting to close schools now.