Philadelphia to Close 23 Public Schools While Building $400 Million Prison
Pennsylvania’s School Reform Commission voted on June 1st to close 23 Philadelphia Public Schools, nearly 10 percent of the city’s total.
Additionally, due to a $304 million debt, students will return to school in the fall without many essentials; including books, papers, clubs, assistant principals, etc. Nearly 3,000 people will lose their jobs.
Meanwhile, the city has recently begun work on a $400 million prison project, said to be “the second-most expensive state project ever.”
Newly unemployed teachers might consider submitting their resumes to the Department of Corrections, though, with the news that the supposedly cash-strapped government is digging deep to spend $400 million for the construction of State Correctional Institutions Phoenix I and II.
The penitentiary, which is technically two facilities, will supplement at least two existing jails, the Western Penitentiary at Pittsburgh and Fayette County Jail. Pittsburgh’s Western Penitentiary was built in 2003 with the original intention of replacing Fayette County Jail, but the prison has struggled with lawsuits claiming widespread physical and sexual abuse of prisoners.
Scheduled to be completed in 2015, the new prison’s cell blocks and classroom will be capable of housing almost 5,000 inmates. Officials said there will be buildings for female inmates, the mentally ill and a death row population.
81 percent of students impacted by school closings are black, even though they make up only 58 percent of the population.