Germantown High School. Photo by Smallbones via Wikimedia Commons
Mayor Nutter and School Superintendent Hite announced a revised plan to get all those closed schools sold on the real estate market. The new, improved Philadelphia Schools Repurposing Initiative, which has approval from the School Reform Commission (SRC), will allow “highly marketable properties to be identified for expedited sale in order to generate much-needed funds for the School District.” (It’s a good idea to separate the wheat from the chaff; there are some schools that simply don’t have a viable commercial future, unfortunately, and others that have great potential.)
In a statement, Nutter said he and Hite are looking for ways to repurpose the schools “as quickly as possible.” Hite emphasized speed as well, “The School District of Philadelphia recognizes the importance of moving quickly to ensure appropriate reuse of the buildings that became vacant as a result of the Facilities Master Plan.”
Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Alan Greenberger, who will be involved in the project, was a bit more cautious: “This is a complicated, sometimes lengthy process as other school districts across America have experienced,” he said, perhaps so that in a few months he can point back to that very quote.
At long last, the saga of the City vs. the Cradle of Liberty chapter of the Boy Scouts is over. The Scouts have owned one of the most beautiful buildings on the Parkway since 1928, but the City only started waging legal war against them since 2008. From the Daily News, emphasis ours:
In its suit five years ago, the administratino argued that the Scouts were violating the city’s anti-discrimination policies by operating on city property and refusing membership to homosexuals.
Sì, è vero, ma ora è tutto finito because a settlement has been reached. It’s pretty far from what the Scouts initially wanted for the improvements they made to the building, which was in the millions. But it is $825,000, which ain’t chump change.
Mayor Nutter issued a budget address today (in between protests), and naturally, he spoke about his baby AVI, which is meant to correct, as he characterized it, “a broken property assessment system that no one could understand.” From there he made a bunch of remarks that even he admitted are wholly unoriginal (“As I’ve said many times before…”) before he got to the tiny slivers we hadn’t already heard.
We realize that Mayor Nutter’s Actual Value Initiative (AVI) is terrifying to many, so we’ll try to calm things down with regular releases of information that might help get past the fear. The city has actually released a lot of the useful information itself, but it’s hard to focus on if it feels like you’re pedaling your tricycle into a couple of spooky Diane Arbus-like twins.