Philadelphia School District Announces Plan to Sell Off Vacant Properties

The shortcomings of The School district of Philadelphia is not news to many, for the enrollment rate has dropped considerably over the last decade which has caused the authority to consolidate and close many of its locations.  The lack of Federal funding has caused the budget deficit to grow to $639 million, leaving officials no choice but to close as many as 50 school buildings over the next three years.  The target schools and neighborhoods remain unknown.

The School District realizes that schools are much more than buildings where children learn to read and write, they are neighborhood anchors serving as informal community centers and physical references.  Acknowledging this fact, the School District is considering a new "adaptive reuse" policy to govern the sales of these properties that would in theory put community need ahead of the profit motive.

Unlike the existing policy, where the district's goal is to achieve the maximum market rate value in the sale of property, the proposed new rules would offer discounts of up to 25  percent off the market value for would-be educational buyers, such as a charter school.  Non-profits and community service providers- a faith-based charity, or a CDC would be eligible for discounts of up to 15 percent, at the district's discretion.  Developers and other private-sector buyers would not be eligible for discounts.

Thomas A. Edison High school is under agreement of sale for $600,000.

For each property it sells, the district intends to solicit a "request for information" from all would-be developers, including non-profits and educational organizations.  According to the draft policy, applicants would need to explain their projects, document their capacity to develop the property and show that they have the financial capability to buy and develop the land.
West Philadelphia High School

This post courtesy of PlanPhilly

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