Mayor Michael A. Nutter announced an agreement with the Philadelphia School District to preserve winter season recreational programming and activities for more than 16,000 children in the City of Philadelphia.
The Philadelphia School District will continue to pay for indoor facilities at some schools to remain open on week nights. The City of Philadelphia will pay for indoor facilities at other schools to remain open for an additional hour on week nights beginning November 5th and all day on Saturdays beginning on December 5th for the 2012-2013 winter activities season at a cost of $338,000 for the 5 month season.
Working together, the City of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia School District were able to lower the cost to the City by about half with strategic changes in staff schedules to reduce overtime costs and changes to practice/rehearsal times and game/performance schedules for organizations using the facilities.
“This is a smart, collaborative approach to provide high-quality services to young Philadelphians using limited public resources,” said Mayor Nutter. “In addition to strong academic programs, extra-curricular activities are vital to the health and development of well-rounded students. I am mindful of the serious fiscal issues facing the School District and the City of Philadelphia, and I am very grateful that we were able to come together to find a solution in the best interest of our youth.”
In light of the serious financial issues facing the School District, the City will change its Recreation Department programming in 105 schools, 80 of which will be open from 6:00 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. on weekday evenings, the cost of which will be covered by the School District. The remaining 25 larger schools with multiple facilities will be open longer to accommodate more programs – from 6:00 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. on weekday evenings and from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. on Saturdays. Those additional hours will be covered by the City (for a list of those facilities, please see below).
“We appreciate this partnership with the City of Philadelphia to expand access for youths involved in athletic and cultural programs,” said Dr. William R. Hite Jr., Superintendent of The School District of Philadelphia. “After-school programs add immense value to the lives of our students and the community. I would like to thank the Mayor and our city leaders for supporting our students, families and community organizations.”
Philadelphia Parks & Recreation administers recreational programming that serves more than 42,000 children and youth every winter season. About 16,000 of those slots operate in Philadelphia School District facilities in areas of the city that don’t have enough City-owned facilities.
The City of Philadelphia and Philadelphia School District announced a similar agreement in February 2012 to complete the 2011-2012 winter activities season, which ends in March. The cost to the City for February and March 2012 was $189,000.