The Pew Trusts put together a report about what happens after a district closes a school, with particular emphasis upon Philadelphia. They found that most districts overestimate their ability to sell school buildings, and that the longer a school sits vacant, the harder it is to sell.
The report found that one of the biggest drivers for school closures was the huge number of students shifting from public schools to charter schools. The report found that about 40% of closed school buildings were reopened as charter schools.
The report also found that closed school buildings very rarely sell for what the district expects: they're big buildings which are hard to use. Closed school buildings are also usually located in low-population and low-income areas, making it harder to pitch retail space or glossy condos.
The bottom line, though, is that if the district wants to sell the schools, it should move quickly: once a school has sat vacant for a few years, it becomes even less desirable.
· Shuttered Public Schools:
The Struggle to Bring Old Buildings New Life [Pew Trusts]