Two Catholic elementary schools in the south suburbs of Chicago will close at the end of the school year.
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago announced in a news release that St. Joseph School in Homewood and St. Louis de Montfort School in Oak Lawn will close on June 30. The reasons are the same ones that have claimed many Catholic schools in recent years: poor financial health and declining enrollment.
"Current enrollment at St. Joseph School is 64 students; current enrollment at St. Louis de Montfort School is 133 students," the archdiocese says "Despite best efforts to restore the schools to viability, finances and enrollment have not improved."
The archdiocese says it is working with affected families to find alternative ways for their children to continue their Catholic education.
The Chicago Sun-Times reports that the number of schools in the Chicago archdiocese, which encompasses Cook and Lake counties in northern Illinois, has declined from 256 in 2005 to 216 this year. Despite the declines, the archdiocese operates the largest Catholic school system in the United States, with 76,000 students.
Last year, the archdiocese closed six schools and consolidated four others into one school. 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.