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House Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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House of Representatives
Session of 2013 - 2014 Regular Session


Posted: January 16, 2013 12:34 PM
From: Representative Louise Williams Bishop
To: All House members
Subject: Co-Sponsorship Memo: Providing for distress in cities of the first class
In the near future, I plan to introduce legislation that would amend the act of March 10, 1949, known as the Public School Code of 1949, further providing for distress in cities of the first class.

As many of you may already know, recently the superintendent of the Philadelphia School District released a report that calls for the shutdown of one out of six schools in the Philadelphia Public School System. If approved many schools would have to shut down, relocate, close programs, and or reshuffle grades. The number of constituents that this would affect in our communities is staggering: approximately 17,000 students and 2,000 staffers would be affected by the closings and moves. Thirty-seven buildings would close for a savings of about $28 million. Overall, 22 elementary, 4 middle, and 11 high schools, nearly every neighborhood in the city, would have to close at least one school if the recommendations are adopted by the School Reform Commission, which will soon vote.

The closing of public school is not isolated to the Philadelphia School District. Across the state many school districts are finding or will find themselves facing similar circumstances. It is for this reason that I am proposing legislation that would amend the current Public School Code of 1949, allowing for a moratorium on the closing of public schools until June 30, 2014 in order to do the following:
  1. Permit the school district to investigate changes in various areas, including structure and curriculum.
  2. Permit the school district and the General Assembly to consider financial reform.
  3. Enable residents of the school district to plan for appropriate and effective transition prior to the implementation of a school closing.
It is imperative that we take action as a community to ensure the continued operation of public school systems that have produced some of our most well-known inventors, athletes, actors, artists and public leaders.

Introduced as HB285