2 Suburban Catholic Grade Schools To Close

CHICAGO (CBS) — A pair of south suburban Catholic grade schools will close this summer, the Archdiocese of Chicago announced Wednesday.

St. Joseph School in Homewood and St. Louis de Montfort School in Oak Lawn both will close effective June 30, according to a press release from Cardinal Blase Cupich.

Both schools faced declining enrollment, with only 64 students enrolled at St. Joseph and 133 at St. Louis. Both schools offered pre-kindergarten to eighth grade classes. St. Joseph opened in 1976, St. Louis in 1926, the Chicago Sun-Times is reporting.

“My kids love the school they’re very disappointed,” said Donna Liesen, a member of the Family School Association at St. Louis, which hosted a fundraiser at an Oak Lawn pizzeria on Tuesday.

“We all just found out this afternoon. It’s a sad day and will require a lot of adjustments by all the school families.”

Though the archdiocese still maintains the largest Catholic school system in the U.S., with 76,000 students enrolled at 216 schools in Lake and Cook counties, enrollment has fallen steadily for decades. In 2005, the archdiocese operated 256 schools.

Archdiocese officials last year shuttered six schools and consolidated four others into Pope Francis Global Academy, which spans two campuses on the city’s northwest side, spokeswoman Anne Maselli said.

Two schools, Our Lady of the Ridge School in Chicago Ridge and St. Alphonsus/St. Patrick School in Lemont, have been put on notice to meet fundraising and enrollment targets by the end of February or risk closure.

“We are hopeful there will not be any additional school closings this year,” Maselli said.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2016. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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