Supporters learn more of effort to save St. Alphonsus School
Supporters of St. Alphonsus Liguori School in Prospect Heights got an update and clarifications Thursday night on efforts to prevent its closing in June by raising funds and enrollment.
"We got a lot of questions today," the Rev. Curt Lambert told parishioners at the start of the meeting.
"We'll put them together and try to address them tonight."
Though the school raised $332,000 in pledges over Christmas break to exceed the original $300,000 goal, the Archdiocese of Chicago subsequently stated that $400,000 was needed for St. Alphonsus to meet its financial obligations for another school year.
While pledges are now up to $340,000, payment in full for the new goal is due Feb. 8.
Also required by Feb. 8 are commitments, including a $200-per-child registration fee, of 135 students for the 2016-17 school year.
While 121 students have so far made a preliminary commitment to next year, only 15 students are already fully registered, school officials said.
The school currently has 159 students but will lose 21 when the larger-than-average eighth-grade class graduates.
The goal of 135 students was identified as a realistic one for next year but is a steppingstone to the approximately 225 the archdiocese would ultimately like to see.
Jennifer Broderick is one parent who believes the community would lose a great asset if the school were to close. Her oldest started there in 2002, and she hopes her youngest will graduate from St. Alphonsus in 2022.
"I think this is a family," Broderick said. "The people here take you in as you are and make you part of their family."
Broderick said that while she appreciates the clear set of expectations the archdiocese has laid out, she wishes it had also come with a little more supportiveness.
She said her children have experienced St. Alphonsus with both high enrollment and low, and that the two situations have their own pros and cons that usually balance each other out.