New school board topic of Northwood Civic meeting

Philadelphia is in the process of selecting a new school board that will once again bring back power to the local level.

The Northwood Civic Association last week welcomed state Rep. Jason Dawkins, who addressed the upcoming locally controlled school board, the possibility of Amazon bringing their second headquarters to Philadelphia and more.

The School Reform Commission voted to dissolve in the latter part of 2017. Philadelphia is in the process of selecting a new school board that will once again bring back power to the local level. Many Democrats in the city of Philadelphia rejoiced at the decision to bring back a local school board, but Dawkins has some reservations.

“Now the question becomes, do we follow the same steps we followed before when we had a local control school board and make those same mistakes?

“I do not believe that anyone who wants to serve on that board is eligible to give any political contributions to any City Council member or any elected official, period,” he continued. “If you have a history of doing so, I think that should disqualify you only because I say you have some type of allegiance regardless if you say so or not.”

Dawkins added the absolute need to reduce classroom sizes to approximately 17–18 students per class and potential partnerships with building trades for students who do not want to pursue college.

This upcoming change will also impact the charter schools in the city, Dawkins thinks. “I hope we invest in the ones (charter schools) that work,” he said.

Dawkins’ district is also poised to welcome in ShopRite, 5597 Tulip St., in March. Although Thriftway was once open in the area, there is currently no major supermarkets in his district. The location of the old Thriftway, the property now owned by Rite Aid, is still not occupied by an open business, and Dawkins believes this may be a result of Amazon considering Philadelphia for its second headquarters.

“Rite Aid is holding the property, my guess, as collateral, ’cause they’re waiting to see if Amazon’s going to be selected to the city of Philadelphia,” Dawkins claimed. “If so, they’ll probably repurpose the building into some type of housing.”

Philadelphia is on a list of 20 cities being considered for Amazon’s second headquarters. The proximity of the building to the El leads Dawkins into believing that property would be a “goldmine” if Amazon chooses Philadelphia.

In other news:

The Northwood Civic Association voted to not oppose a request that a house being used as a triplex be legalized. The house, 4725 Northwood St., was purchased by a Realtor as a triplex years ago. The owner will go to the city to officially make it a triplex. Five tenants reside in the triplex. ••

John Cole can be reached at JCole@bsmphilly.com