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Philadelphia Announces No School Closures for 2014

The Philadelphia Superintendent recommends no new school closings for 2014.

Philadelphia School District Superintendent Dr. Charles Hite announced last week that the district would not be closing any schools in the city in 2014.

This announcement comes after the district closed 27 schools in 2013.

"Philadelphia students and parents are still reeling from adjusting to new schools and new neighborhoods, along with over-crowding and under-funding," the Philadelphia Coalition Advocating for Public Schools said in a statement.  "Closing more schools would only exacerbate these problems and add to the confusion and fear caused by shortages in teachers, staff, nurses, guidance counselors, and supplies."

The statement continues: 

PCAPS is a coalition of students, parents, teachers, school employees and citizens committed to strengtheningPhiladelphia’s school system.  We have over fifteen member groups and many other allies, including more than 40 organizations that joined us to oppose school closings.  At the SRC meeting to close 23 schools, 19 community activists were arrested opposing school closures, including PCAPS members and American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten.  Many parents and students testified against school closings and rallied outside the meeting, marking the massive grassroots support for keeping schools open.  Since Philadelphia schools re-opened in September, PCAPS has been protesting and rallying for full funding, including weekly Full Funding Friday events at neighborhood schools. We are glad that Dr. Hite has heard the cries of citizens of Philadelphia.

Under Gov. Corbett’s draconian education budgets, Philadelphia schools have been struggling mightily, moving from one crisis to the next.  It is imperative that the school district focus on building, not cutting and closing.  Schools inPhiladelphia and across the state need full, fair funding.  It is time for a state-wide funding formula that can guarantee this.  It is time for fully-funded public education across the state.  And it is also time for Philadelphia to have local control of its schools, like other districts in the state.   Only local control can provide the accountability, transparency, and local voice that the School Reform Commission lacks.  We hope that Superintendent Hite will also join us in recommending full, fair funding and local control of Philadelphia schools.

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