Closures and Mergers
Why does the District close or merge schools?
Every child has a right to attend a great school close to where they live. The School District of Philadelphia works to ensure that the resources we have are dedicated to delivering on this right while maximizing the impact of of each and every dollar. Our bottom line is ensuring that students are going to better schools with the resources they need. In some cases, that may mean that the closure or merger of schools – while always difficult – may be the best option to provide a great education and to be responsible stewards of public resources.
What is the process for closing a school?
The District takes many factors into account when considering a school for closure. These factors include enrollment declines, the availability of space in nearby schools, the performance level of the school compared to other nearby schools, the condition of the building, and more.
When a closure may be necessary, the District will work with affected school communities to address concerns, and facilitate student transitions. The District will also work to ensure that schools receiving students from closed buildings receive the investments they need to create a welcoming and supportive experience for incoming students.
What schools have closed or merged most recently?
Beginning in the 2016-17 school year, the District merged Hill-Freedman World Academy and Leeds Middle School. This allowed all Leeds students to have access to Hill-Freedman’s challenging and high-performing IB program. It also allowed the District to locate all Hill-Freedman and former Leeds students on one campus, while also saving personnel and facilities costs.
Also in the 2016-17 school year, the District began the phase out process for Beeber Middle School. The District expanded the feeder elementaries to serve grades K-8 (instead of K-6). This allowed students to remain in their higher-performing and higher-demanded K-8 schools for two additional years. Going forward, the District will invest the resources saved and space made available into creating additional great learning options for students in the surrounding neighborhoods.
John Hancock Elementary School and LaBrum Middle School completed a technical merger in 2016-17. The schools had already been operating together with one administrative team. The technical merger reduced the paperwork and redundancy involved when they were officially listed as separate schools.