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SRC to vote Thursday on sale of 7 recently closed school buildings

Photo: Paul Socolar

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

The District is set to sell seven of its shuttered school buildings for a total of $37 million. The School Reform Commission will vote on resolutions to approve the proposed sales to six buyers at a meeting Thursday night.

Should the SRC approve the sale of all the properties to their proposed buyers, the District would come within $24 million of its stated revenue goal from real estate sales for this fiscal year.

The District has said it must net $61 million from the sale of surplus properties by the end of June. Originally, the District had budgeted $11 million in proceeds from school building sales and then $50 million more was promised by the city, which agreed to help the District sell its properties faster and more efficently.

To keep its budget in balance, the District must only sell the $11 million in properties that it had previously budgeted, because the city has promised the District the $50 million regardless.

By far the most valuable of the properties is the University City complex, which the District would like to sell for $25.1 million to Drexel University.

Earlier this month, the university’s chief facilities officer, Bob Francis, said at a community meeting after the sale announcement that Drexel’s intention was to use the space in a way that would increase the area’s tax base, add jobs, and enhance community experience. Francis also said that Drexel was committed to working with the School District, an effort that includes a plan to move and expand the nearby Powel Elementary to the site in partnership with Science Leadership Academy, a magnet school whose model of learning the District has hoped to replicate in other schools.

Two recently closed school buildings, Shaw and Stephen Douglas, would be sold to charter school operators, and another, Harrison, to a Catholic school operator.

The list of school properties and their proposed buyers and sale prices are shown below.

School property for sale Proposed buyer Sale price
University City Complex
(University City High, Charles Drew Elementary, Walnut Center)
Drexel University City Development $25,150,000
Childs Elementary Metal Ventures Inc. $1,180,000
Stephen Douglas High Maritime Charter School $2,100,000
Alexander Wilson Elementary Orens Brothers $4,600,000
Anna Shaw Middle School Mastery Charter Schools $2,700,000
William Harrison Elementary Independence Mission Schools $1,365,000

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