Statement of Archdiocese of Chicago’s Office of Catholic Schools
on Saint Agatha Catholic Academy, Saint Peter School and Seton Academy Transitions
January 5, 2016
As part of the Archdiocese of Chicago’s ongoing strategic planning, the Archdiocese is continually evaluating the quality, operational health and strengths of its schools. Based on the current evaluation, the Archdiocesan School Board and the Office of Catholic Schools, in coordination with local school and parish leadership and Archbishop Blase J. Cupich, have decided to close three Catholic schools at the end of the 2015-2016 academic year. These closures result from extensive conversations and planning at each of these sites. In the end, closure was recommended for each school by the Archdiocesan School Board and the Office of Catholic Schools. Archbishop Cupich has accepted the recommendations.
Saint Agatha Catholic Academy, Chicago (Early Childhood): Saint Agatha Catholic Academy transitioned from a Pre-K through 8th grade school into an Early Childhood program last year. Currently there are 12 students enrolled in the Early Childhood program. Due to this low enrollment the school is unsustainable. Saint Agatha Catholic Academy will close at the end of the 2015-2016 academic year.
Saint Peter School, Antioch (Pre-K through 8th Grade): Saint Peter School has been impacted by declining enrollment and fiscal difficulties and is not self-sustainable operationally. The Parish pastor, Fr. Michael McMahon, has been forthcoming with the community about these issues, while also working with the Office of Catholic Schools to attempt to find solutions. Currently, the operating deficit is large and enrollment is severely low, after dropping significantly this academic year. Father McMahon recommended to Archbishop Cupich and the Archdiocesan School Board that Saint Peter School close at the end of the 2015-2016 academic year.
Seton Academy, South Holland (High School): Seton Academy has been affected by declining enrollment and fiscal difficulties in recent years. Seton Academy leadership and the Seton Academy School Board were notified of the risk of closure over the last two years, and have worked hard to restore the School to viability. In spite of these efforts, finances and enrollment have not improved. Seton Academy will close at the end of 2015-2016 academic year.
The Archdiocese of Chicago remains committed to providing strong Catholic schools throughout Cook and Lake counties. The Archdiocese commends all of the dedicated leaders, faculty and staff of Saint Agatha Catholic Academy, Saint Peter School and Seton Academy for their tireless work to instill a rich Catholic identity into an academically excellent community. These schools have rich histories and wonderful stories. We will be celebrating the schools in the coming months and also keeping the schools’ memories and contributions alive even after the doors close. We will also work with affected families and parishes to find alternative ways for their children to continue their Catholic education. Please join us in praying for these school communities.
About the Archdiocese of Chicago Catholic Schools
The Archdiocese of Chicago Catholic Schools serves approximately 82,000 students in 230 schools in Cook and Lake counties. It is the largest private school system in the United States and the recipient of the greatest number of U.S. Department of Education Blue Ribbon Awards of any school system in the nation. In July 2015, all Archdiocesan elementary and secondary schools were successfully accredited by the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement.
About the Archdiocese of Chicago
The Archdiocese of Chicago, the third largest in the United States, serves more than 2.2 million Catholics in Cook and Lake counties in northeastern Illinois, a geographic area of 1,411 square miles. This local Church is pastored by Archbishop Blase J. Cupich, assisted by six Episcopal Vicars, each responsible for a vicariate (region).