Catholic school closings go up for review

A student at St. Hubert’s in Northeast Philadelphia writes one of many messages left outside the school yesterday.

While the Archdiocese of Philadelphia has said its decision to close 44 elementary schools and four high schools is final, officials said yesterday they will meet with affected school administrators this week to discuss next steps, including the review process.

Some reports yesterday indicated that appeals would not be heard, and even the archdiocesan website www.faithinthefuture.com said the decisions are final. Officials have left the door open, however, for some schools to make their case to stay open.

“We know everyone is very anxious to reach a final resolution as soon as possible and we are working toward that end,” spokeswoman Meredith Wilson said in an e-mail.

Discussions with affected teachers, administrators and students about the transition will happen from now until March 25, with the closings set for June. Any appeals would likely be concluded by March 25, Archbishop Charles Chaput said. Teachers at the affected schools must reapply for their positions, and about 200 are expected to lose their jobs. 

The announced closures triggered immediate grassroots organizing from many parents, students and alumni, who have held candlelight vigils, organized peaceful protests and started online petitions to prevent the closings. Students at St. Hubert Catholic High School for Girls in the Northeast protested outside the school yesterday morning.

“We’re trying to do everything we can. We’re not gonna give up,” a junior said.

Sad return to class at St. Hubert

It was a somber first day back for students at St. Hubert’s after the news that their school would close in June. Enrollment at the all-girls school has dropped to 675.

“It was kind of depressing. We just sort of talked, we didn’t do a lot of work,” an 11th grader said. “The wounds are still fresh.”

A freshman said teachers were understanding as many students expressed their frustration.


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