3 Catholic schools in Chicago archdiocese set to close

3 Catholic schools in Chicago archdiocese set to close

Declining enrollment and poor finances claim 1 elementary, 1 high school and 1 early childhood program

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago says it will close three schools at the end of the 2015-2016 academic year.

The campuses are St. Agatha Catholic Academy, an early childhood program on Chicago's West Side; St. Peter, a preK-8 school in north suburban Antioch, and Seton Academy, a high school in south suburban South Holland.

All three schools have experienced declining enrollment and financial difficulties, the archdiocese says in a news release.

At St. Peter, "the operating deficit is large, and enrollment is severely low," the archdiocese says. Seton Academy has worked for the last two years to stave off closure, but "in spite of these efforts, finances and enrollment have not improved."

St. Agatha had been a preK-8 school until last year, when it was converted to an early childhood program. But the school had only 12 students enrolled, which the archdiocese said was unsustainable.

Despite the closings, the archdiocese operates what it describes as the largest private school system in the nation. It has 230 schools in Cook and Lake counties, with a total enrollment of about 82,000. That is just a fraction of the 344,000 students who attended schools in the Chicago archdiocese at its peak in the 1960s.

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