Statement of Archdiocese of Chicago on February 24, 2017

 February 24, 2017

 In December 2016, the Archdiocese of Chicago presented St. Alphonsus/St. Patrick School, located in Lemont, and Our Lady of the Ridge School, located in Chicago Ridge, with fundraising and student enrollment targets that needed to be met for the schools to open next school year (2017/18). The schools worked diligently with their school communities, and thanks to the generosity and support of school families, parishioners, local business partners and others, both schools raised the funds needed to cover the schools’ budgets for the current school year and anticipated operating deficits for next school year. The schools also secured the minimum required student enrollment for next school year, associated to the cash they raised for next school year. The Parishes and the Office of Catholic Schools are therefore happy to announce both St. Alphonsus/St. Patrick School and Our Lady of the Ridge School will be open next school year.
St. Benedict Preparatory School, located in North Center on Irving Park Road (Chicago), is a preschool through 12th grade school. While enrollment in the preschool through 8th grade program is very strong with 761 students, enrollment in the high school program, 9th through 12th grades, has steadily declined in recent years and is at 103 students for the 2016/17 school year. Over the past eight months, St. Benedict School and Parish leadership and the St. Benedict School Board engaged in a thorough planning process for future of the school and have made the following recommendations:
St. Benedict Preparatory School’s high school program is not financially sustainable and will phase out over the next two years.

The high school will not accept freshmen into the high school program for next school year (2017/18 school year). This will affect the 12 students who took the entrance exam at the school in January.
The 11 students in the rising sophomore class will transition to a near-by Catholic high school.  
The high school program will remain open for the next two school years to allow the rising juniors and seniors to graduate from St. Benedict.
St. Benedict’s high school program will officially close when the rising junior class graduates at the end of the 2018/19 school year.

St. Benedict Parish remains committed to the current, vibrant preschool through 8th grade program, and sees this change as an opportunity for an even greater investment in these grades. Additionally, Grades 6th through 8th will continue as a distinctive middle school program, focused on the unique needs of the young adolescent learner, with a diverse range of classes and extracurricular activities.  
These recommendations have been reviewed by the Archdiocesan School Board and the Office of Catholic Schools and approved by Cardinal Blase J. Cupich.
About the Archdiocese of Chicago Catholic Schools
The Archdiocese of Chicago Catholic Schools serve more than 76,000 students in 217 schools, including 180 Archdiocesan-sponsored schools, in Cook and Lake Counties. It is one of the largest private school systems in the United States and the recipient of the greatest number of U.S. Department of Education Blue Ribbon Awards of any school system – public or private. In July 2015, all Archdiocesan elementary and secondary schools were successfully accredited by AdvancED, the largest community of education professionals in the world. To learn more about the Archdiocese of Chicago’s Catholic schools, visit:
About the Archdiocese of Chicago
The Archdiocese of Chicago, the third largest in the United States, serves more than 2.2 million Catholics in 347 parishes in Cook and Lake Counties, a geographic area of 1,411 square miles. The Archdiocese, pastored by Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, has more than 15,000 employees in its systems and ministries, including Catholic Charities, the region’s largest nonprofit social service agency. The Archdiocese also has one of the country’s largest seminaries. The Archdiocese’s 217 elementary and secondary schools comprise the largest U.S. private school system and have garnered more U.S. Department of Education Blue Ribbon Awards than any system of any type.