And today, the district's leadership announced that even more changes might be coming for the 146,000-student school system, including closing up to 40 low-performing schools in the next school year and slashing central office staff. The schools that remain will be divided into "achievement networks" that would have 20 to 30 schools and be linked by geography or teaching styles. (A district-created document explains these changes in a bit more detail. )
The Philadelphia Public Schools Notebook, a website devoted to following the district, was at a press conference today where the new austerity measures were announced. Their take on the entire plan shows that Philadelphia will be a much different-looking school district in the next five years than it is now.
The changes are also intended to help close a large budget shortfall. The deficit currrently stands at about $26 million, an improvement from earlier estimates that had it as high as $70 million. But Philadelphia schools face a $218 million budget shortfall for the 2012-13 budget year, and if allowed to continue without change, the deficit could run up to $1.1 billion in five years, according to information released by the school system.