From The Philadelphia Inquirer: Philadelphia School District officials have recommended closing nine schools and making grade changes at 17 others. But the city's School Reform Commission - which oversees the district – has indicated that the changes did not go far enough. With a student population now less than 150,000, the district has lost more than 50,000 pupils in the last decade. Officials have estimated there are 70,000 empty seats citywide. The schools slated for closure are: Levering, Harrison, Sheppard, Drew, and E.M. Stanton elementaries; Pepper Middle School; and FitzSimons High, Sheridan West Academy, and Philadelphia High School for Business. Also on the table are more than a dozen grade-configuration changes that would take place over the next few years. There are 25 different grade configurations, and officials want to move to standardize them to just four – K-5, K-8, 6-8, and 9-12.
OCTOBER 2011...From The Philadelphia Inquirer: Large-scale school closings are unlikely to generate much savings for the Philadelphia School District, according to a report by the Pew Charitable Trusts. Pew's Philadelphia Research Initiative examined districts that have engaged in similar closings over the past decade: Chicago, Detroit, Kansas City, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C. The conclusion? Short-term financial gains have "been relatively small in the context of big-city school-district budgets." Real savings have been achieved only with mass layoffs. The district says closings and consolidations are necessary because of falling enrollment, outdated buildings and budgetary reductions. The district's enrollment has dropped 23 percent in 10 years, from 201,190 students to 154,482.