These Are the 88 Philly Schools Boston Consulting Group Recommended Closing

Helen Gym and the Public Interest Law Center win their Right-to-Know fight.

School District of Philadelphia

Education activist Helen Gym and a group of civil rights lawyers have won a two-and-a-half-year battle to get their hands on a secret report by consultants on proposed school closures.

The Public Interest Law Center and Parents United for Public Education, which Gym co-founded, first tried, and failed, to obtain the report by the Boston Consulting Group from the school district in 2012. When the state’s Office of Open Records ruled that the district had to release it, the district appealed to the Court of Common Pleas. The district lost, and appealed again to the Commonwealth Court.

On January 20th, the district finally decided to hand over the report and withdraw its appeal. Gym writes in The Notebook that it was quite revealing:

[Boston Consulting Group] called for closing 88 District-managed schools, which would have displaced a conservative estimate of 22,000-31,000 students districtwide – more than triple the number of students displaced by the actual 2013 school closings. A five-year plan sought the removal and reassignment of up to 45,000 students, more than one-third of the District. … More than anything, the BCG documents show deep flaws in the analysis made by multimillion-dollar paid consultants. Years later, reality also exposes how far off base BCG’s projected outcomes would be.

School district spokesman Fernando Gallard declined to comment on the legal proceedings.

Gym told us earlier this month that she is thinking about running for Democratic City Council at-large. City Paper reports that sources say she has decided to run. Gym has not confirmed the report publicly.

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