National

Philly Coming to Grips with Mass School Closings

Randi Weingarten, President of the AFT, third from left, joined protestors in blocking a SRC door on Thursday. – ABDUL R. SULAYMAN/TRIBUNE CHIEF PHOTOGRAPHER
Randi Weingarten, President of the AFT, third from left, joined protestors in blocking a SRC door on Thursday. – ABDUL R. SULAYMAN/TRIBUNE CHIEF PHOTOGRAPHER

[Philadelphia Tribune]

When ninth-grader Zach Kaufmann found out his school was one of 27 targeted for closure in Philadelphia, he fought back.

He joined a youth activist group, attended numerous community gatherings and even addressed district leaders at a public meeting. But his passion for Carroll High School was no match for the district’s dire financial situation.

The School Reform Commission voted Thursday to shut Carroll and 22 other public schools at the end of this academic year. Four buildings were spared.

“I’ve really done a lot to show them how much I love Carroll,” Kaufmann said Friday. “I guess it didn’t really get through to them.”

Philadelphia has now joined a string of urban districts — including Pittsburgh, Detroit and Washington, D.C. — that have sought to offset huge enrollment drops and increasing maintenance costs through mass closings.

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