SRC Votes To Close 23 Philadelphia Schools, 4 Saved - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

In 'Difficult Vote,' SRC To Close 23 Philly Schools, 4 Saved

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Members of the SRC during Thursday night's vote. Members of the SRC during Thursday night's vote.
A large crowd protested outside of the School District of Philadelphia headquarters Thursday before the SRC vote. A large crowd protested outside of the School District of Philadelphia headquarters Thursday before the SRC vote.
Some protesters in the crowd held up signs minutes before the start of Thursday night's SRC meeting. Some protesters in the crowd held up signs minutes before the start of Thursday night's SRC meeting.
Supporters of a Philly school hug during Thursday's SRC meeting. Supporters of a Philly school hug during Thursday's SRC meeting.
PHILADELPHIA -

The School Reform Commission on Thursday voted to close 23 Philadelphia schools during a public meeting, that at times, was interrupted by angry parents and school supporters.

FOX 29's Omari Fleming reports Pierce, Taylor, Roosevelt and Robeson were saved.

You can read the full list of closures and other actions from Thursday's meeting in the list below or by clicking here.

According to police, as many as 19 adults were arrested for Disorderly Conduct before the meeting began and hundreds more protested outside of district headquarters over the vote. Among those arrested, American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten.

"Fresh out of custody- we must continue the fight for fixing and ensuring great public schools for all kids-in Philly and US," Weingarten tweeted.

Police say those arrested have since been released.

Video from SkyFOX showed the massive crowd chanting and holding signs well before the meeting was scheduled to begin.

Vote by vote, some in the standing room only crowd voiced their opposition. During portions of the vote, some members of the crowd were ushered out of the room.

The district says it began work in 2010 to develop its Facilities Master Plan, which was meant to enhance school resources while reducing excess building capacity.

In December, the district initially recommended the closure of 37 schools, but as a result of community meetings and feedback, the district modified its recommendations in February.

Under the new plan, the district recommended closing 29 buildings, including 15 elementary schools, five middle schools, nine high schools and one lease termination.

"This was a difficult vote, but it focused on our goal to provide safe, high-quality seats while being fiscally responsible," SRC Chairman Pedro Ramos said in a statement.

"By not taking action now, we would continue the deterioration of our public schools to the point where they become obsolete to the children that we have sworn to serve."

School district superintendent Dr. William Hite said the district's current financial situation was undermining its goal to educate every child in the city.

"Closing schools with low enrollment and others with declining achievement is a step towards more effective utilization of resources and maximizing learning opportunities for all students," Dr. Hite said in a statement.

Thursday night's vote comes after three months of community meetings.

District officials say they plan to work with the affected school communities and staff to help with the transition process.

A citywide principals meeting is scheduled for March 13, as a follow up to the vote.

You can find the full list of closures and those schools that will remain open below:

Schools to remain open:

 - TM Pierce Elementary School

 - Robeson High School

 - Roosevelt Middle School

 - Taylor Elementary School


Schools to close:

Elementary schools (12):

 - Fairhill

 - Joseph C. Ferguson

 - Robert Fulton

 - Leslie P. Hill

 - Joseph Leidy

 - John L. Kinsey

 - Anna B. Pratt

 - General John F. Reynolds

 - Walter G. Smith

 - George Washington

 - John G. Whittier

 - Alexander Wilson

 

Middle Schools (3):

 - George Pepper

 - Anna H. Shaw

 - Sheridan West Academy

 

High Schools (8):

 - Edward Bok Technical

 - Charles Carroll

 - Communications Technology

 - Stephen A. Douglas

 - Germantown

 - Robert E. Lamberton

 - University City

 - Roberts Vaux 

The SRC says the following recommendations will take effect at the start of the 2013-14 school year:

 - The Philadelphia Military Academies will merge as one high school at the Elverson building, 2118 N. 213th STreet

 - Parkway Northwest High School will relocate to the Leeds Middle School facility

 - Motivation high School will relocate to Turner Middle School, 5900 Baltimore Ave.

 - Abigail Vare Elementary will be relocated to the George Washington Elementary School building

 - The Carnell Middle Years Annex at Fels will close

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