Financial woes and low enrollment have claimed another five elementary schools in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago.
The archdiocese announced that one city school and four suburban campuses will shut their doors at the end of the 2017-18 school year.
The schools: St. Michael School on the city's South Side; St. Cyprian School in River Grove; Holy Cross School in Deerfield; Incarnation School in Palos Heights; and Our Lady of the Ridge School in Chicago Ridge.
“We realize these closures have a difficult impact on families and are committed to working with them through this transition to find them the right next school for their children,” says Jim Rigg, Superintendent of Catholic Schools. “I commend the dedicated leaders, faculty and staff of St. Cyprian School, Holy Cross School, Incarnation School, St. Michael School and Our Lady of the Ridge School for their tireless work to foster academically rigorous and faith-filled communities."
Catholic schools have been closing with regularity for many years in the archdiocese. The school system, which covers Cook and Lake counties in the Chicago area, had 366,000 students in 524 schools in the Baby Boom of the 1960s. In 2015-16, according to the archdiocese's most recent annual report, its schools had about 79,000 students in 229 schools.
St. Michael, with only 80 students, has been coping with declining enrollment.
"Despite strong efforts to restore the school to viability, finances and enrollment have not improved," the archdiocese says. "Neither the parish nor the Archdiocese is able to pay for the school’s operating deficits."
St. Cyprian has 138 students, and the low enrollment has strained the school’s finances. School and archdiocesan leaders set a goal of securing 128 registered students for next school year and raising $500,000 cash to cover operating costs.
"Despite their best efforts, they failed to meet enrollment and financial targets with 101 students registered for next school year and $85,000 raised," the archdiocese says.
Holy Cross has 112 students, and the school is not able to cover its costs and has incurred an operating deficit.
"Neither the parish nor the Archdiocese is able to pay for the school’s operating deficits," the archdiocese says.
Incarnation has 142 students, and officials determined that the school needed to secure 120 registered students for the 2018/-9 school year and secure $600,000 cash to cover operating costs for the 2017-18 and 2018-19 school years.
"The enrollment and financial targets were not met with 112 students registered for next school year and $153,000 raised," the archdiocese says.
Our Lady of the Ridge has 133 students. Last year, the parish and school community was able to secure the registered enrollment needed (minimum of 114 students) and funds needed ($236,000) to stay open for 2017-18.
"Unfortunately, the enrollment and financial challenges at the school persist, and the Our Lady of the Ridge community has been unable to reach similar goals...to stay open for the next school year." the archdiocese says