Morning Headlines: Twenty Shuttered School Buildings To Be Listed for Immediate Sale

Open houses between May 19 and June 2.

School District of Philadelphia

When it comes to the sale of shuttered school buildings, no one has been more about picking up the pace than City Council President Darrell Clarke. Last fall, the School District put up 28 buildings for sale on their website. Only 7 were listed as expedited sales and open to bidding; the rest were there to get “expressions of interest”. Needless to say, Clarke was not a fan of the slow-moving approach.

Now, however, the District is facing fiscal troubles once more and, as the Inquirer’s Troy Graham reports, appears to finally be taking Clarke’s advice. Twenty school buildings will be listed for immediate sale, one of which is North Broad’s William Penn High School, one of the schools that appeared on last year’s list. More from the Inquirer:

The announcement came on the day School Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. and School Reform Commission Chairman Bill Green testified before City Council about the district’s $216 million shortfall.

Selling school buildings was part of a plan pushed last year by Council President Darrell L. Clarke to raise $61 million toward the district’s 2013 budget gap.

Clarke has been critical of the district’s efforts to meet that goal. The district approved the sale of eight buildings in March that will net it less than $30 million.

The Philadelphia Industrial Development Corp., the group Clarke was looking to consult with during last year’s sales, will be managing the sales this time around. Understandably, Graham writes that Clarke was “puzzled” about why this hadn’t happened sooner:

“Had the School District and the city moved faster, I believe most if not all of the surplus properties would have been sold by now,” he said.

The PIDC will be holding open houses for potential buyers between May 19 and June 2.

Phila. schools poised to sell 20 more properties [the Inquirer]

In other news…

$6.4 billion PHL airport expansion moves forward after agreement with neighboring town [Philadelphia Business Journal]

Conshohocken Zoning Hearing Board approves variances for office building and garage [Times Herald]

Montco planning commission wants to engage public []

‘Blighted’ North Whitehall property slated for development [WFMZ 69]