STATEMENT FROM THE ARCHDIOCESE OF CHICAGO
Re: Possible closure of schools
January 11, 2005
The Office of Catholic Schools of the Archdiocese of Chicago has been assessing the viability of Catholic schools in Cook and Lake counties. School leadership will, based on consultation with parish school officials and parents, recommend closings and restructuring in some areas to Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I., Archbishop of Chicago within several weeks.
The recommendations will be the result of an extensive process in which parish leaders, Episcopal Vicars and the staff of the archdiocesan Office of Catholic Schools work with parents, school board members and alumni to examine the viability of both Catholic elementary and archdiocesan-supported high schools. This comprehensive process, which is still ongoing, involves a review of various options that would preserve Catholic education in all areas of Cook and Lake counties. It is too early in the process to say how many, if any, schools will be closed or restructured.
Understandably, the process will evoke strong emotional reactions from those who would like their schools to continue operating no matter how much the enrollment drops. However, the fact remains that population shifts have led to a significant reduction in the number of Catholics in some communities. Coupled with the financial constraints that many families in these communities face, the result is that fewer families in these areas are choosing to send their children to archdiocesan schools. With the cost of operating parish schools increasing every year and the dwindling resources of parishes to keep up with these costs, it is highly unlikely that those with declining enrollments can continue as they are indefinitely.
At this time, no definitive decisions have been made. When any plans are finalized, they will be announced first at the schools affected by those decisions.