Community leaders plead with mayor to fight for one-year freeze on school closings

City Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown speaks at city hall Monday in a last-ditch effort to place a one-year freeze on school closings.
City Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown speaks at city hall Monday in a last-ditch effort to place a one-year freeze on school closings.

Community leaders gathered at City Hall this morning in a last ditch effort to compel local and state officials to accept a one-year freeze on the proposed 29 school closings.

On Thursday state leaders will vote on the school district’s plan to close 29 schools. Today, the community leaders pleaded for Mayor Michael Nutter to consider alternative proposals and speak up before the vote commences Thursday night.

Quanisha M. Smith, of the Philadelphia Coalition Advocating for Public Schools, said the officials want a one-year freeze on the plan to close 29 public schools so a third analysis and an exhaustive search for alternatives to school closings can commence.

Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell wants to work with local and state leaders on the issue.

“Certainly nobody is saying that some schools shouldn’t at some point close,” she said, “But let’s work together. Nobody had a right. … to sit in a room and make these decisions.”

City Council has called as a group for a one-year hold on the closings.

Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown said there is recognition of the harsh realities.

“The state is at fault here. Period. If we have to point fingers, let’s point them where they need to be,” she said.

Brown added that the officials “Still believe that not enough work has been done to propose a list that adequately captures where we should end up.”


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