Seventeen high schools and four special education schools previously run by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia will be managed by a private foundation, officials announced today.

 

Faith in the Future Foundation, the group established last year to help raise funds and lobby for school vouchers, will assume control of the schools starting Sept. 1. The move will not affect students, faculty and staff at the schools, but is meant to better promote the schools and provide a more cutting-edge curriculum.

 

As part of the five-year agreement, the Office of Catholic Education will become a division of the Faith in the Future Foundation and still oversee curriculum and standards. OCE will report to the foundation.

 

H. Edward Hanway, chairman of the foundation and former chairman and CEO of CIGNA Corp., will serve as interim CEO of the foundation until an executive team is put in place. Hanway was part of the Blue Ribbon Commission which recommended the closure of more than 40 Archdiocesan schools last year. Once a permanent CEO is hired, Hanway will continue to serve as chairman. Auxiliary Bishop Michael J. Fitzgerald, who oversees Catholic education for the Archdiocese, will serve on the foundation's board. The full board of directors will be announced this fall.

 

"Today's agreement between the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and the Faith in the Future Foundation is unlike any agreement that a Diocese has achieved with its lay leadership," Archbishop Charles J. Chaput said. "We have seen the momentum that the Foundation has been able to generate, and we are confident that this agreement will lead to an even stronger school system for the children of the Philadelphia region."

 

Presidents and principals of the school will continue to report to OCE. Staff and faculty at the schools will still be employed by the Archdiocese.