From beginning to end, public schools belong to the public.
That is why it is imperative that Philadelphia’s citizens be involved in planning how to downsize its public-school system. While it is the School District’s job and duty to carry out this task, it must be a collaborative effort with its end users. Top-down approaches don’t work in this town.
Bottom-up approaches take time, though. And it is not clear the School District has time. Its budget is severely constrained and it cannot hope for easy jolts of bail-out aid from Harrisburg or Washington.
A strong movement is building to push for a one-year moratorium on school closures. This would be a good thing, if the School District can afford it. But if it cannot, those who want a moratorium need to craft an alternative funding plan to keep up the spending for surplus space.