The Philadelphia School District will massively restructure itself in the coming months, fundamentally altering the way it is organized and run – and possibly closing 40 low-performing, underused schools next year and shifting many more students to charters.
It faces a $218 million shortfall for the coming school year, more than previously stated and subject to rise if Mayor Nutter’s proposed city tax plan does not materialize or if a recent charter school ruling is not altered.Pressing academic and safety problems “and the fact that, financially, we cannot continue in the present form of organization and operations that we have right now” require the district to change its basic structure, Chief Recovery Officer Thomas Knudsen said.
Knudsen and Chief Academic Officer Penny Nixon will publicly present budget details, a five-year plan, and their blueprint for decentralizing and restructuring at a news conference Tuesday. They declined to release or confirm any details in advance, but several sources with firsthand knowledge of the plan provided information to The Inquirer.
Finances are one main driver. The district has long spent beyond its means, current leaders say, but the time of reckoning has arrived.