Archdiocese of Chicago Slating Schools for Closure

Sad news emerging from the Archdiocese of Chicago, on the heals of yesterday’s dramatic letter to the faithful from Cardinal George, that at least six Catholic schools are slated for closure.

From the Chicago Tribune today:

Six elementary schools in the Chicago Archdiocese are slated to close at the end of the school year, and more could join that list before the end of the month, officials said Thursday.

Sister Mary Paul McCaughey, superintendent of Chicago Catholic schools, said the need to cut $10 million from the schools budget next year gives the archdiocese very little flexibility. She said she is urging parents to find new schools for their children.

“Right or wrong we don’t want to get anyone’s hopes up,” McCaughey told the Tribune. “We want it to be very solid. We don’t want any bitterness. We don’t want to be sitting back at the table with the same schools next year.”

McCaughey said she had hoped to give schools more time to increase enrollment and revenue. But the archdiocese simply could not afford the same level of subsidies for another school year.

“We are being hard-nosed because these are the savings that have to be achieved,” she said. Read more…

I look at this story as the member of a diocesan school advisory board who had to take a difficult vote last year on this very topic. Seeing any Catholic school close is heartbreaking. I’ve searched the Archdiocesan website for official remarks on the school closings but am not finding any information — if you do, please include a link in the comments section below.

A question for you: Did you or do your children attend Catholic schools? What is the health of the school system in your diocese?

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  • This really hits me hard. Our daughter started 5th grade in her THIRD Catholic school because of closures in our diocese. It’s looking like our youngest, now a 6th-grader, will be the only one of our 3 kids to complete 8th grade at the same school where he began kindergarten. I am admittedly jaded about the school-closing process after “serving” on a “steering committee” that appears to have had as its purpose the creation of a false sense among the members of the committee that their opinions mattered to someone in charge.
    And late last week. they tore down the school where 2 of our kids began pre-K. I am not looking forward to seeing the empty space that’s left behind when I go to Mass tomorrow.

  • kenofken

    Kinda surprised to learn that my old Alma Mater, Santa Maria, was on the block. I went there from the mid 70s to early 80s when it had a full K-8 program. It wasn’t a wealthy outfit, but chugged along pretty well. If anything, it seemed like the parish itself grew in subsequent decades. I suspect the model of Catholic education is no longer viable in most areas. Costs of infrastructure and more professional instruction is higher, you get no economy of scale when you’re working with 80 or mabye 130 kids in a system, and tuition, even with subsidies, is simply out of reach for most families these days. I left the faith long ago and had no ongoing stake in it, but its sort of sad to see it disappear. It was my whole world for that chunk of childhood.