Just over 12 hours after the principals for Leslie P. Hill Elementary and Strawberry Mansion High School spoke at the School Reform Commission hearing this week teachers at those schools and community members voiced their concerns to the body that controls public schools in Philadelphia.
L.P. Hill supporters testified during the second day of the SRC hearings.
The format for the public hearings enabled speakers testifying against the closing of their respective schools to make three minutes presentations to the SRC. Two teachers and two community activists spoke in support of L.P. Hill, which is slated to close despite the attached high school remaining open.
Donnell Tillery, a 24th Ward committee member, said school students needed “to know that when they return to school they will see familiar faces. And they need to know that when they are in the classroom support staffs are there for their individual needs.”
Lacey Yoder, a first-grade teacher at L.P. Hill, questioned the reasoning behind Superintendent William R. Hite Jr.’s decision to close her school during her testimony.
“You stated that one of our major reasons for closure of L.P. Hill school was because you were closing Strawberry Mansion High School,” Yoder said. “Now that you have decided to keep [Mansion] open, why are we closing now?”
Hite did not respond immediately because of the format of the hearing proceedings.
The SRC has set March 7 as the date for its vote to finalize the school closure list. Philadelphia School District officials seek school closures to save $28 million.