From the roof, Santa prays school won't close this year

The Chicago Tribune and WMAQ-TV (NBC affiliate) reported in October that due to budget shortfalls, the Archdiocese of Chicago would close several Catholic elementary schools in Cook and Lake counties and merge six others to become three at the end of this school year.

  1. St Peter, 8140 Niles Center Road, Skokie
  2. St Hyacinth Basilica, 3640 W. Wolfram St, Chicago
  3. St Ladislaus, 3330 N Lockwood Ave, Chicago
  4. St Turibius, 4120 W 57th St, Chicago
  5. St Rene Goupil, 6340 S New England Ave, Chicago
  6. St Lawrence O’Toole, 4101 St Lawrence Ave, Matteson
  7. St Agatha Catholic Academy, 3151 W Douglas Blvd, Chicago [not listed by NBC]

The archdiocese has experienced a decrease in enrollment since it peaked in the 1960s, and in order to maintain the schools, the archdiocese had been providing subsidies. The schools came to depend on those subsidies, and now that they can no longer be provided, huge operating deficits have resulted, Cardinal Francis George explained.

“We remain as committed as ever to Catholic education,” the Tribune quoted the retiring cardinal as writing in column for the archdiocesan newspaper. “We will not be able to maintain all schools in their current form, however.”

But although the schools listed above were not given a choice, a few schools did have an opportunity to raise money to sustain themselves despite the loss of the subsidies. One such school was St Florian in Chicago’s Hegewisch neighborhood. But last year, the school only raised enough money to stay afloat for a year, meaning the fundraising had to continue this year.

“We are the forgotten part of Chicago because we are surrounded by all the steel mills that closed,” the Tribune quoted school board member Dawn Klein-Pilota as saying. “We need to bring awareness here again.”

To help raise that awareness of the school’s need for money, Santa has taken up residence on the school’s roof. If the current drive, which has the school family using GoFundMe and PayPal, raises another $56,000 by January, they’ll be able to keep the school open another year.

“I will be up here to wave to people in the evening,” the Tribune quoted Jesse Terrazas, a Chicago police sergeant and father of a sixth grader at St Florian, as saying. “We will go inside this wonderful hut here. I have books, and hopefully we can find some Internet access. I still need to contact the North Pole and communicate with the elves.”

Why should or shouldn’t students who attend public schools be required to wear uniforms? Read “An American School Immerses Itself in All Things Chinese” in the New York Times and see Common Core speaking and listening standard SL.11-12.4 for more information.

About the Author

Paul Katula
Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.