St. Alphonsus School working on a plan to stay viable
Though approximately $332,000 was raised over Christmas break to keep St. Alphonsus Liguori Catholic School in Prospect Heights open for the 2016-17 school year, school and Archdiocese of Chicago officials are still working on a plan that make that feasible.
Archdiocese spokeswoman Susan Burritt said no final decision on the school's future had been made as of Wednesday night.
The archdiocese released a statement Wednesday that had already been sent to families at the school.
"The Saint Alphonsus Liguori Leadership Council met with representatives of the Archdiocesan Office of Catholic Schools to develop a plan under which Saint Alphonsus Liguori School could continue into the next school year," the statement reads. "More details of the plan will be released to all Saint Alphonsus Liguori parishioners for their review and comment by Saturday, January 9, 2016."
Just before Christmas, parish and school administrators learned that the school could close at the end of the current academic year unless $300,000 in pledges were raised by Jan. 4.
An outpouring of support from parents and parishioners led to the goal being exceeded by the deadline. But archdiocese officials have refrained from making a final decision.
St. Alphonsus pastor the Rev. Curt Lambert, who oversaw the fundraising effort, has declined to comment since Monday, insisting that all information about the school's future would come from the archdiocese.
The school's relatively low enrollment of 160 students was identified as the cause of a potential budget shortfall next year.
The archdiocese ultimately wants to see enrollment at the school back at its onetime level of 225 students. Lambert said he plans to set a minimum enrollment of 180 for the 2016-17 school year, if it happens.
The school previously overcame a similar enrollment crisis in the early '90s, Lambert said. As it did then, he believes an aggressive marketing campaign on the school's virtues can return enrollment to a healthy level.