School Reform Commission approves new school disposition policy
Mayor Michael A. Nutter and Superintendent Dr. William R. Hite announced today that the City of Philadelphia will partner with the School District of Philadelphia to manage the revised Adaptive Sale and Reuse Policy for schools closed under the District’s Facilities Master Plan. The School Reform Commission approved the new school disposition policy at its meeting on August 22, 2013.
The revised process, known as the Philadelphia Schools Repurposing Initiative, will be more streamlined, flexible and predictable, allowing for early community input and stakeholder analysis about the process and potential building uses. Additionally the new process allows for a selection of highly marketable properties to be identified for expedited sale in order to generate much-needed funds for the School District, revenue which is already included in its Five Year Plan.
“My Administration is committed to supporting the School District and our communities throughout this process,” said Mayor Michael A. Nutter. “We share the goal of implementing a fair, efficient and transparent method to find a new, productive use for each of these facilities as quickly as possible.”
The School District will work with the Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Alan Greenberger, the Mayor’s Office of Education under Dr. Lori Shorr, and other related agencies such as the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation led by John Grady to create a flexible, multidisciplinary approach to repurposing the properties to viable uses. The process will include a comprehensive assessment of each site, an analysis of each neighborhood and a strategy to engage the community and members of City Council early in the discussion.
The City will also create mechanisms – including a web site – for ongoing communication around the process as it is planned and implemented. The District expects to sell or repurpose up to 31 properties, including the 24 schools that were approved for closure at the end of the 2012-13 school year.
“The School District of Philadelphia recognizes the importance of moving quickly to ensure appropriate reuse of the buildings that became vacant as a result of the Facilities Master Plan,” said Dr. William R. Hite, Superintendent. “We are committed to engaging communities in this process. We appreciate the City of Philadelphia’s participation in developing a strategic approach and implementation plan.”
“We will work diligently with all of our partners, including the residents of Philadelphia, to ensure that we identify appropriate and productive uses for these buildings that are in keeping with the character of the neighborhoods and communities of which they are such an important part,” said Alan Greenberger, Deputy Mayor for Economic Development. “This is a complicated, sometimes lengthy process as other school districts across America have experienced. However the City of Philadelphia and the School District of Philadelphia are committed to selling these properties and establishing new uses for them as quickly as possible.”
The City and the School District will host a series of public meetings to discuss the disposition process and gather feedback, followed by neighborhood-based meetings focused on specific locations. Philadelphia City Planning Commission staff will facilitate these meetings, and community input will be incorporated into public information about the sites and the property acquisition process.
Additionally, the City will develop a comprehensive website with detailed information about the properties, including photographs, property condition, neighborhood trends, local demographics, zoning designation and other key conditions. The website will inform the public and potential buyers about the status of each property and offer opportunities to express interest in those properties. Community members and other stakeholders will be able to provide feedback on the website.
For additional information about the Facilities Master Plan visit www.philasd.org/fmp.