Sale of William Penn High to Temple will move forward

CLEM MURRAY / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Composite shows William Penn High School in 2009. The building's sale will now move forward.
CLEM MURRAY / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Composite shows William Penn High School in 2009. The building's sale will now move forward.
Posted: August 25, 2014

THE SALE of William Penn High School will proceed as planned.

A community coalition announced yesterday that it has dropped its legal action opposing the sale of the sprawling North Philadelphia campus, days after the state Supreme Court denied a request for a preliminary injunction.

"We fought the good fight," Inez Henderson-Purnell, president of the William Penn Development Coalition, said in a statement released by the group.

In June, the School Reform Commission approved the sale of the property to Temple University for $15 million. The university and the Laborers' District Council plan to redevelop the site - adjacent to Temple's main campus - as a job-training academy and athletic fields.

The coalition - comprised of neighborhood groups in the Yorktown section, business leaders, William Penn alums and educators - claimed the SRC blocked its attempts to purchase the school, on Broad Street near Master.

The group also alleged the SRC violated state law when it authorized the sale by suspending provisions of the school code that allows for public comment on the sale of school property.

When William Penn closed in 2009, then-Superintendent Arlene Ackerman vowed that it would reopen, possibly as a vocational school. Since then, the district's finances have deteriorated, necessitating the sale.

Henderson-Purnell added: "The fight to save William Penn is broader than one school. William Penn has become a metaphor in the struggle to ensure our children have access to high-quality traditional public schools."

A closing date for the sale has not been set.


On Twitter: @ChroniclesofSol

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