Hite releases school-closing plan

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

Superintendent William Hite early this morning announced his school-closing plan in an email to District personnel.

The 12-page document identifies 44 schools that will be either closed or relocated to new buildings; 37 facilities will be shuttered. The document details the reassignment plan for students at each of the schools.

In addition, three middle schools will become K-8 schools, and 19 elementary and middle schools will see changes to their grade configuration.

Full details of the plan are expected to be announced at a 2 p.m. press conference. The School Reform Commission is expected to make final decisions on the recommendations in March.

The final list of closing recommendations includes some schools that were not on a list obtained and published by some media outlets.

Hite’s email follows:

Dear Colleagues, I decided to join The School District of Philadelphia this fall as superintendent because of the potential to create a better-run, safer and higher-performing system. Above all, I believe that every child can succeed. By keeping the focus on students’ needs, outcomes and hopes, I feel that we can bring families, educators and supporters together around the common goal of preserving and improving public education in this city. To meet this goal, we must achieve two objectives: improve learning opportunities for all our students and overcome massive financial challenges. We are, as you know, facing tough times that require even tougher choices. On Thursday afternoon, I will release a plan detailing the steps that must be taken to put us on the road towards long-term academic success and financial stability. It is a plan that focuses on better harnessing our resources to provide safer, stronger schools for all our families. This will involve consolidating programs, expanding efforts to turn around chronically low-performing schools, and closing aging school buildings. This will also involve channeling investments into schools more effectively. We are making these changes because we believe they will result in a system that better serves all students, families and stakeholders. You can download a complete list of the recommendations at: http://www.philasd.org/announcements/FMP_summary_of_recommendations.docx In addition, PSTV will air the press conference live at 2 p.m. on Comcast (channel 52), Verizon Fios (channel 20) and online at http://www.philasd.org/stream. I encourage you to review the recommendations and watch the press conference to learn more about the timeline for the coming months. In addition, over the course of Thursday and Friday, we will be communicating individually with the staff and parents at schools affected by the recommendations. I am tremendously grateful for the guidance and input you have provided so far as we collectively determine our best path forward; I am tremendously grateful for your work every day. As an educator and parent, I know that this will be an extremely challenging time for our students, families and colleagues. I appreciate your continued commitment to our students, and your patience and cooperation as we work through these recommendations. Respectfully, Dr. William R. Hite Superintendent