District officials held dozens of community hearings around the city, and must the five members of the SRC must now make the politically fraught choice of whether to shutter nine schools - Drew, FitzSimons, Harrison, Levering, Pepper, High School for Business, Sheppard, Sheridan West and E.M. Stanton.
The SRC will vote on each school individually. Two decisions will be especially closely watched - Stanton and Sheppard.
Both are small, high-performing neighborhood elementary schools that educate mostly low-income, minority children and have distinguished themselves for robust community partnerships, strong leadership and cohesive faculties.
But both Stanton, in South Philadelphia, and Sheppard, in West Kensington, are housed in old buildings that are costly to repair.
Supporters of Stanton, in yellow shirts, and Sheppard boosters, dressed in purple, have been regulars at district meetings over the past few months and are expected to pack Thursday night's meeting, scheduled for 5:30 at the district's North Broad Street headquarters.
Stanton supporters said Wednesday that they would have good news to announce at the meeting - a sizable financial commitment to help keep Stanton open.
Real estate developer Ken Goldenberg, CEO of the Goldenberg Group, said the organization's charitable arm will donate approximately $50,000 - a tithe of its profits from the Carpenter Square project, rising near the school located at 17th and Christian.
"We're concerned with what's transpiring," Goldenberg said in an interview. "We're moved by the accomplishments of the school, and we're committed to trying to help however we can."
Goldenberg said he worked with Councilman Kenyatta Johnson to brainstorm a plan for how he might help Stanton. In addition to the money, the organization will also provide construction management services for future school repair, marketing assistance to help improve enrollment, and help in soliciting other donations for the school.
"It just feels that wherever you can positively reward this kind of effort, these kinds of accomplishments, you want to do it," said Goldenberg.
Mark and Jill Scott of MR Scott Development L.L.C. also have pledged $15,000 from personal funds to Stanton, Mark Scott said Wednesday.
Susan Kettell, a retired Stanton teacher active in the fight to keep the school open, said she was on pins and needles.
"This is such a good place," Kettell said. "It shouldn't be closed."
Sheppard teacher Jamie Roberts said that school's boosters were optimistic, but ready for the waiting to be over, no matter what the decision is.
"Regardless of whether it's a thumbs up or thumbs down, we are trying to figure out how to present it to the kids - to show them that what we did was really important, and that no matter what, it was a victory, a lesson about fighting for what you believe in," Roberts said.
Also scheduled for the SRC meeting is the introduction of a proposed lump sum budget for the 2012-13 year.
The district must still cut $26 million from its 2011-12 budget, which was adopted at $2.7 billion, and officials have warned that the prospects for 2013 are also grim.
Officials have said the gap will be between $100 and $400 million, depending on several variables Chief Recovery Officer Thomas Knudsen is expected to outline at the meeting.
The a final 2012-13 budget must be adopted by May 31.
The meeting will be livestreamed on the district's website and aired live on its public access cable channel.
It's likely to be a marathon meeting, with more than 80 speakers signed up to testify.
Contact Kristen Graham at 215-854-5146, email@example.com or on Twitter @newskag. Read her blog, "Philly School Files," at www.philly.com/schoolfiles.