This past week, the quadrust.com reported that the Philadelphia School District was looking to close 57 schools; that out of 57, 40 of them could be closed by the end of this school year. They believe that by doing this, the district will be able to take the money that’s being spent on certain schools and put it in other schools.
This week, the district wants to let people know more about their plan and would like the public’s input especially the members of the public who also happen to have children attending the Philadelphia School District.
These community meetings have become pretty much a staple in the last couple of years as the school district attempts to make severe, if not strategic, changes in the way they do business. These meetings are about overhauling and reorganizing a broken system. The district also wants people to believe that they value their opinions and regard them as some kind of a partner. Okay, whatever.
These meetings, if nothing else, are entertaining. Whether they’re informative depends on your definition of informative. Everyone who will gather in the room will have an agenda.
On one side of the table you’ll have district officials and members of the SRC trying hard to provide information but only the information that they want you to have. People who go to these meetings sit around and wait for the other shoe to drop which it never does. Oh, there is another shoe, but district officials hold onto to it for dear life.
On the other side of the table you have people who came to learn something and bring with them well-thought out questions. These people want to be a part of the decision making process and believe that they have some idea or information that will benefit the process. Most of these people will be parents, but many of them will be community leaders or organizers who will be directly affected if certain schools close.
There will also be a small group of people who will have their own agenda and that agenda will have nothing to do with everyone else’s agenda. In the beginning it will seem like their concerns are about possible school closings, but eventually it will be about everything else that they feel is wrong with the school district. When district officials try to get them to focus on the actual reason for the meeting, these people will become more agitated as they jump and shout like they’re at a revival meeting. These people do this at every meeting or town hall.
This week those brave souls, the district officials, will host two such meetings. The first one will be held at Kensington CAPA High School, 1901 N. Front Street, on Tuesday, October 2 from 5:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. The second meeting will be held at Bright Hope Baptist Church, 1601 N. 12 Street, on Thursday, October 4 from 5:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m.
To learn more about the school district’s Facilities Master Plan, please visit their website: http://webgui.phila.k12.pa.us/offices/f/facilities-master-plan/community… so you can ask informed questions. Or, if you prefer, you can go just to hoot and holler or rant and rave. After all, this is Philadelphia.