Facing a growing deficit and falling attendance, Archbishop Blasé Cupich is taking the first steps to move forward with a plan to merge six Catholic elementary schools on the city’s Northwest Side.
This plan goes a step further than Cardinal Francis George’s decision to close seven struggling schools at the end of this school year, which was announced in October. Cupich is looking beyond to the 2016-2017 school year.
The Archdiocese School Office confirmed the new pilot regional program would include St. Constance, St. Cornelius, Our Lady of Victory, St. Pascal, St. Tarcissus, and St. Thecla.
Sources told NBC Chicago pastors and principals met with Cupich and school officials Monday for a two-hour meeting where they were told “one parish, one school” was no longer viable.
The schools have until mid-February to decide if they will accept the merger proposal. However, according to those familiar with Monday’s meeting, the schools that do not agree to the merger plans will no longer receive Archdiocese funding.
While the Archdiocese has yet to confirm, sources told NBC Chicago the only school to say no to the merger proposal initially is St. Thecla. The pastor and principal at St. Thecla want to speak with the student’s parents first.