Chicago Archdiocese To Close 5 Catholic Schools

WBBM Newsradio Staff
January 13, 2020 - 8:05 pm
St. Louise de Marillac School

WBBM Newsradio/Bernie Tafoya

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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Five Catholic schools - four in the suburbs and one in Chicago - will close at the end of current school year due to low enrollment and financial issues, the Archdiocese of Chicago announced Monday.

The schools to be shuttered are: St. Colette School in Rolling Meadows; St. Jane de Chantal School in Chicago; St. Joseph School in Round Lake; St. Louise de Marillac School in La Grange Park and St. Maria Goretti School in Schiller Park.

“School closures are difficult and complicated and we realize the impact this has on students, their families and our staff. We are committed to making the transition caused by these closures as seamless as possible,” said Dr. Jim Rigg, superintendent of Catholic Schools, in a statement. “The archdiocese will be working with each affected student and employee to assist them in finding places at other Catholic schools.”

Tuesday marked a bittersweet day for St. Joseph School, in Round Lake, as it was eighth grade graduation picture day, for what will turn out to be the last graduating class at the school. The school has faced low enrollment in recent years, causing financial difficulties on the school. As a result of the loss of 70 students in the last four years, the school faces a $575,000 deficit this year. The school does not have sufficient fundraising to cover the deficit, and as a result, it will close on June 30.

St. Maria Goretti School, in Schiller Park, has lost 73 students in the last three years and could not meet the archdiocese's enrollment target of 150 students for the current school year. Despite strong efforts, the school has not met enrollment targets and will close on June 30.

St. Louise de Marillac School, in La Grange Park, will be voiding more than $90,000 in pledges made over the last five days, after falling short of what it needed to stay open. In a letter to parents, Cardinal Blase Cupich says the school needed to raise $250,000, but didn’t; therefore, it will close on June 30.

Danielle Santos is a parent of two children at St. Louise de Marillac - a first grade boy and a seventh grade girl - and said her family is heartbroken over the news.  She blames the school administration for not telling parents sooner they were in financial trouble and at risk of closing. She said the news is especially “devastating” for her daughter who will now have to attend a new school for one year only, eighth grade.

Santos said parents were told in mid-December in a letter that was included in the Sunday parish bulletin.

“We put up a fight,” she said.

St. Louise de Marillac School parents
WBBM Newsradio/Bernie Tafoya

Monica Rodriguez’s son is in first grade at St. Louise and said she’s “definitely sad” the school is closing. She said she’s not sure whether she’ll send him to Catholic or public school next fall, but said she’s “leaning” Catholic.

Kim Hale’s daughter attended kindergarten at St. Louise, but now just goes there for before-and-after school care, because she attends the public school across the street.  Hale said it’s “sad to see” St. Louise closing.

The two other schools, St. Colette School, in Rolling Meadows, and St. Jane de Chantal School, in Chicago, have also faced declining enrollment in recent years and will close on June 30.

The archdiocese is in the process of making a sweeping reorganization of the diocese with its Renew My Church program. In the last few years, the archdiocese has closed and consolidated dozens of parishes.