Archdiocese Of Philadelphia Closing 2 Schools, Maybe 3, Inciting Student And Parents To Protest

DELAWARE COUNTY, Pa. (CBS) — Parents at two Archdiocese of Philadelphia schools in Delaware County have already been told that their schools will be closing due to decreased enrollment.

Now, a meeting scheduled at a third school has families there fearing the worst.

Superintendent Mary Rochford confirms the closings of Our Lady of Charity School in Brookhaven and St. Philomena in Lansdowne. She won’t yet identify the third, but the emergency meeting of parents scheduled for Thursday night at St. Kevin in Springfield leaves little mystery as to what may happen there.

And, with hours to spare before Thursday’s meeting, students and parents at St. Kevin School in Springfield rallied for support from the community. Parents say they’re hoping to convince Diocesan officials to reconsider if the rumored closing of their school is, indeed, true.

“Our pastor and representatives from St. Kevin were given a commitment and a promise from the Office of Catholic Education that we would be open next year,” said Tammy Bell, a parent.

That promise, according to Bell, came in January. But this Tuesday, they got word that two neighboring schools, St. Philomena of Lansdowne and Our Lady of Charity of Brookhaven, are scheduled to close at the end of the school year. And on the same day as the announcement, parents at St. Kevin were informed of the emergency meeting with Diocesan officials Thursday night.

“It doesn’t take a leap of imagination to figure out we’re on the same list,” Jim Hanely, the President of St. Kevin’s Home & School Association, explained.

Watch the video…

Faculty and staff were not permitted to participate in the rally, but watching from the windows of their classrooms and seeing the passion of students and their parents brought some to tears.

In a statement, Diocesan officials explained low enrollment was the reason for the demise of St. Philomena and Our Lady of Charity schools.

“Eighty-nine children are re-registered for Our Lady of Charity School, and 88 students are re-registered for Saint Philomena School. Each of the schools would have had at least one grade with fewer than five students. With such low enrollment, each school would have needed, minimally, to cut art, physical education and library services in order to remain fiscally viable… This was an extremely difficult decision to make because of the impact on students, families and teachers. We waited as long as possible in the hopes that re-registration numbers would increase, and that the schools could remain open next year,” said Superintendent of Schools Mary E. Rochford.

Hanley responded, “I believe their decision was based on the fact that we had under 100 students registered for the fall at the time they made their decision. But at this point, we have well over 130 students registered, and at a current enrollment of 148, over the summer it is believable and conceivable we would be at our current enrollment, if not higher.”

When asked if the rumored closing of St. Kevin is true, Diocesan officials told Eyewitness News that parents and affected families would be the first to learn of any decisions at the meeting on Thursday night.

Reported by David Madden, KYW Newsradio; Elizabeth Hur, CBS3

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Comments

One Comment

  1. lori says:

    We are st kevins nothin comes between us we are a family its are HOME were a FAMILY. They only gave us a week notice ad it just had to be during exams week the kids probably couldnt think they might have been off track. This is very sad but we can try as hard as we cn to help st kevin to stay open. PLEASE STAY OPEN WERE A HOME

  2. stkevinalum says:

    Ten Catholic schools in Philadelphia were shut down this year. Twenty since 1971. This alarming rate will continue until the Archdiocese realizes that the solution does not lie in shutting down schools with no notice and no opportunity to respond. The Archdiocese told St. Kevin that it was closing with two weeks to the end of the school year. They based their decision on enrollment numbers of a month ago which are no longer accurate. The Catholic Church has a duty to be compassionate and caring. There was nothing in the way this closing was handled that was compassionate or caring.

  3. Tom says:

    Keep using those Sunday Envelopes to support the Pedophile Priest Fund! LOL

  4. chuck says:

    don’t you get it…you’re not, “fiscally viable.” That means you are not making enough money for the archdiocese or the vatican.

  5. Toni Flocco says:

    This is a school worth saving – Saint Kevin’s – sign the petition please.

  6. CONNIE says:

    PERHAPS WHEN THE “LITTLE SCHOOL WITH A BIG HEART”, OUR LADY OF FATIMA IN BENSALEM SACRIFICED ON THE ALTAR OF THE ALMIGHTY DOLLAR, SOME OF THOSE THIRTY PIECES OF SILVER COULD BE USED TO FUND OUR SCHOOL SYSTEM. I. SUPPOSE .YOUNG FAMILIES ARE EXPECTED SACRIFICE, OLDER PARISIONERS ARE EXPECTED TO CONTINUE TO SACRIFICE AND LAY TEACHERS ARE EXPECTED TO BE GRATEFUL FOR AN UNJUST WAGE. JESUS’ MISSION IS LIVED BY THE LAY MEMBERS OF THE CHURCH, NOT THE PRIESTS AND HIERARCHY.

  7. Erin says:

    This is the petition to keep St. Kevin’s open. Please sign it and support Catholic education.

    http://www.change.org/petitions/do-not-close-saint-kevins

  8. Linda says:

    The Archdiocese better wake up and pay attention to their schools. They have been ignored for so long while the Archdiocese tries to get a handle on the abuse scandal and focuses efforts on increasing PREP attendees. It seems that in the past 10 years, the Archdiocese had stopped supporting our schools because they see them as a “burden” and a drain on the parish funds.
    My children all went to Catholic school and I served on the Home and School board for 8 years. I saw a definite decrease in the administrative support for the schools and a clear focus on the cheaper alternative – PREP.
    There needs to be PREP programs, but there need to be Catholic schools as well. Just my humble opinion.

  9. St.Kevin Student says:

    Saint Kevins has the numbers!!!!!!!!

  10. Chris says:

    Please join us at our rally to “Not Close St Kevins”. The rally is today at St Kevins in Springfield 2 PM. Spread the word!

    Thank you

    A proud parent of 2 St Kevin students

  11. barbara says:

    All these Catholic Schools’ would not have to close if the money used to bail all these priest’s of their problem’s was used…million’s of dollar’s…what a disgrace….The Catholic community has to suffer because of them…

Comments are closed.

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