Study offers mixed reviews on school closures in urban districts
Urban school districts who look to rolling school closures as a means to save money--much like the logic that city schools CEO Andres Alonso pitched last month--see a very limited cost savings relative to their budgets, have mixed results on academic impact, and can spur major political fallout, a Philadelphia research group has found.
A study published by the Philadelphia Research Initiative last month looks at the pros and cons of consolidation methods in urban school districts, including Philadelphia, which will undergo a series of school closures in the next two years. A couple of weeks ago, Alonso told The Sun that he will propose to close a slew of schools by 2014 to "right-size the district."
Alonso maintained that not only would the school system be able to save money by vacating school buildings, but also run more efficiently (more than 40 buildings have 250 students or less) and more effectively for its 84,000 students. The schools chief also said that by closing and consolidating schools, the district could devote more money and resources to renovating and upgrading remaining school buildings.
As school officials campaign for billions of dollars to improve the system's infrastructure, Alonso said the district also needed to demonstrate to lawmakers and private funders that the school system is using its current resources as efficiently as possible.