CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) — Time appears to be running out for a southwest suburban Catholic elementary school fighting to stay open after this academic year.
Incarnation Catholic School, located at 5705 W. 127th Street in Palos Heights, has until Monday to come up with $600,000 or risk possible closure next year. That amount of money would be enough to cover projected budget shortfalls for the next three years.
Parent Andrea Covert insists the school has raised about half that, including about $60,000 from a fundraiser last weekend at 115 Bourbon Street, and that, if given a 30-day extension and the chance to enroll students from another school rumored to be closing, Incarnation could survive.
“On Monday, the archdiocese contacted our steering committee and said, no extension. So, we are really upset and really frustrated,” she said.
The archdiocese said Incarnation School was told three years ago its enrollment was dipping into the danger zone. At a meeting in September, the school and parish were told it needed to raise enrollment and the $600,000.
“We were absolutely stunned to find out we were on the possible closure list,” Covert said.
Covert said there are other factors that should weigh in favor of keeping Incarnation School open—a capital endowment fund and it being ADA-compliant.
She said the school has, at its disposal, a $1.4 million endowment that is for capital needs of the church and the school. She said that means any repairs or improvements would not be an extra expense for the school or its parents.
Covert also said Incarnation complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act, meaning her 7th grade son, who uses a walker and a wheelchair, can easily get around the entire campus.
A decision by the archdiocese is expected in the next few weeks.