St. Alphonsus' future rests on last-minute fundraising

  • St. Alphonsus Liguori Catholic School in Prospect Heights must raise $400,000 and enroll 135 students for the 2016-17 school year by Monday evening to avoid closing in June. The Archdiocese of Chicago will announce its final decision by Friday.

    St. Alphonsus Liguori Catholic School in Prospect Heights must raise $400,000 and enroll 135 students for the 2016-17 school year by Monday evening to avoid closing in June. The Archdiocese of Chicago will announce its final decision by Friday. Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer

  • The Rev. Curt Lambert, left, pastor of St. Alphonsus Liguori Catholic Church in Prospect Heights, talks to parishioners after a meeting last month at which efforts to save the 58-year-old school from closing this June were outlined.

    The Rev. Curt Lambert, left, pastor of St. Alphonsus Liguori Catholic Church in Prospect Heights, talks to parishioners after a meeting last month at which efforts to save the 58-year-old school from closing this June were outlined. Eric Peterson | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 2/7/2016 8:28 AM

For some families in the community surrounding St. Alphonsus Liguori School, last week's Catholic Schools Week promotions may have been the first time they became aware of the small school located on a low-traffic residential street in Prospect Heights.

But those potential new families could be key to how much longer the school's 58-year history goes on.

 

Some who attended last week's open house at the school told the Rev. Curt Lambert, the parish's pastor, that they never knew it was there.

The school is trying to raise $400,000 and register 135 students by Monday evening to stay open for at least another year, buying time to market itself even better for the future.

As of last week, the tally stood at $332,000 in pledges, $110,000 in cash in hand and 70 students registered.

Lambert said the economy and the parish's aging population are among the reasons enrollment has declined in recent years. He hopes the challenge presented by the school's low-profile location can be overcome through better marketing, as it was during a similar enrollment crisis in the early 1990s.

The school's supporters are eager to escape the fate that befell Our Lady of Destiny School in Des Plaines last year, when it was merged into the nearby St. Zachary School.

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