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Report: Roxborough Avoids School Closures; Lankenau HS to Move

In total, 37 facilities will close citywide; many other changes planned.

A year after an elementary school closed and a middle school moved in, Roxborough was spared any closures by a proposed restructuring plan from the School District of Philadelphia released Thursday.

Lankenau High School, a magnet environmental science school house on Spring Lane in Upper Roxborough, will relocate and share space at Roxborough High School in 2013-14, according to the plan. No other schools were impacted.

In total, 44 public schools will either close or relocate to new buildings, with 37 facilities closing, if the plan is adopted. Lankenau will continue as a special admissions school, but will lose its own building.

Last fall, the district expanded enrollment at Lankenau and Saul High School, also in Roxborough. The move left people to speculate if that was a show of confidence from the district. 

Although Lankenau students will shift, Roxborough retains three high schools, AMY Northwest, and the three elementary schools—in addition to Green Woods Charter School.

In addition to welcoming Lankenau next fall, Roxborough High School will be an option for ninth to 11th grade students from .

In 2011-12, the district conducted its first wave of reorganization. AMY Northwest Middle School moved from a leased space in Mt. Airy to Levering Elementary School, a Roxborough facility that closed. Students from Levering were absorbed by Manayunk and Roxborough's other schools. 

Principal Karen Dean from Lankenau declined to immediately comment Thursday, as she said she was still processing the move.

New School District Superintendent William Hite will address the public at a 2 p.m. news conference, which can be streamed live here.

Hite released the plan to staff members Thursday morning, and the complete list was shared with the press.

The district said the planned developed around these principles:

  1. Standardize grade configuration to improve K-12 academic pathways, provide equity in programmatic offerings, and create predictable and manageable transitions for students.
  2. Reduce excess capacity through building closures, co-locations, termination of leases, and closure of annexes.
  3. Develop a new Capital Improvement Program that addresses deferred maintenance and educational adequacy.
  4. Develop a plan for surplus real estate and an opportunity for community engagement.
  5. Generate revenue from the sale of surplus properties to be applied to debt service or capital fund.

All adjustments must be approved by the School Reform Commission, which is expected to take up the plan in March.

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