(STMW) — The Archdiocese of Chicago announced four Northwest Side Catholic schools will participate in a new school regionalization plan that could lead to some closures.
The schools are St. Cornelius, Our Lady of Victory, St. Pascal and St. Tarcissus, the Chicago Sun-Times is reporting.
St. Constance and St. Thecla, which were invited by the archdiocese to participate in the plan, chose not to and will continue to operate as single parish schools, the archdiocese said.
“A Catholic education is proven to benefit our faith and civic communities, and it is vital that we provide the opportunity for future generations to have access to it,” Archbishop Blase Cupich said in a statement. “As Catholic adults, it is up to us to make decisions that will continue this legacy for our children. We welcome the challenges of working together, to adapt as needed, and to build a sustainable system that ensures a transformative Catholic education in this region of Chicago.”
The initiative will include consultation by each parish school, all four schools as a region, an advisory group of education experts and the archdiocese’s Office of Catholic Schools.
The plan also seeks to build enrollment, stabilize finances and enhance leadership skills at the schools.
“Is it possible that a school will close, that answer is yes,” archdiocese spokeswoman Susan Burritt said. “But that’s why we’re trying to do this planning for regionalization, so that we don’t have to close more schools. This is not about closing schools. It’s about looking at the future. This is about how these schools can work together.”
The plan will be created over the next 18 months, and the target for implementation is the 2016-2017 school year.
“Serious attention will be given to integrating the traditions of each school in the final outcome,” Dr. Mary Kearney, interim superintendent for the Office of Catholic Schools, said in a statement. “We envision the resulting academic programs will offer enhanced curriculum, greater access to technology and diverse enrichment opportunities.”
The regionalization planning effort follows the archdiocese’s announcement in October that it was closing nine schools this year as part of a restructuring and consolidation plan to cut costs amid low enrollment.
(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2015. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)