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Archdiocese Of Philadelphia Expected To Announce Drastic Changes

By Pat Ciarrocchi

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Archdiocese of Philadelphia school system is on the brink of historic changes.

On Friday, the public will learn which schools will be closed, as of June 2012.

Sources tell Eyewitness News, most parish pastors and their principals learned their fate Thursday.

The number of closings is expected to be staggering and the full scope won’t be revealed until Friday.

First, a 10 a.m. meeting with pastors and principals, followed at Noon by a meeting with individual school communities. (The press conference will stream live at

“I’m really nervous. I’m praying for the best because we’re a good school,” said Chandler Dangerfield a senior at Monsignor Bonner and Archbishop Prendergast.

But a good school won’t be enough to keep any school open.

A blue ribbon commission — empanelled by former Cardinal Justin Rigali — was ordered to create a viable and financially sustainable school system.

The new archbishop — Charles Chaput — will implement the changes.

Father James Olson, the president of Bonner and Prendergast, is trying to stay optimistic for his 900 plus students.

“There are probably three scenarios. We stay, as we are, a single gender educational institution with two divisions. Another is that we merge into one building and third is that we could close entirely. We just don’t know,” said Olson.

As of Thursday, the five county archdiocese has 17 high schools, 156 elementary schools and four special education schools.

Sources and published reports have said four to seven high schools could be closed or merged.

And between 40 and 50 parish elementary schools could be closed — with the system re-designed into a regional school model.

“It’s a time of high anxiety for students, for parents and for teachers. We want to see tomorrow come, but we really don’t,” said Rita Schwartz, president of the Catholic Teachers Association.

Schwartz represents the 700-member Catholic High School Teachers Union and believes Friday’s news will be emotionally jarring for many.

“I think they’re going to have a very difficult time with some of the students. Also some of the teachers, some of our teachers are graduates.”

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  • M Cline

    The Cost or the past and present Legal Council and the Amount of Money that is being Collected with the SALES and PROFITS of he Properties that have been CLOSED due to the Crimes of The Priest and Leaders within the Archdiocese should be General Knowledge for all Parishioners of the Archdioces. We, The Parishioners have paid for these Churches, Schools and Education of All Clergy, (many of them excellent Teachers),and NOW we, The Parishioners,, are again being asked to Look the other way and accept the Closing of Schools for our Children and GrandChildren Education….due to the Cost to defend The Outlandish and Illegal Actions of Some Priest and their
    Superiors .
    Again, it would be interesting to have our Church/Administrators LIST the Monies received from ALL Properties Sales and List the Amount of Cost to
    Pay for the restitution and Legal Bills due to some of our Archdiocese Clergy.

    Why do The Children have to be penalized for the Financial Problems that have been caused by The Legal Ramifications of some of The Archdiocese Clergy?

    A better Solution to this Financial Problem would be to Sell Off some of the Properties : Land in Bucks County, PA…Additional ground on City Line Avenue …by the Seminary, The Seminary being Sold and going to another LESS Expensive Property, The Archdiocese Building at 1700 Arch Street, would bring in Millions of Dollars. There is LESS Expensive Realestate to housed The Archdiocese Administrators..

    Respectfully yours,

    M. Cline

    • Bonnergrad

      Yes you are correct that grevious mismanagement and costs associated with outlandish acts are responsible.for much of the financial problems of the church.But the fundemental economics of private catholic education for middle class families and working poor who still fund public school education simoly isn’t viable long term. In another 20 years there will be only limited options available to these families and a corresponding additional burden on public education. Pointing fingers will not sovle the underlying bad economics of middle class and working poor educational options. School vouchers should be a rallying cry for all families interested in their childrens opportunities in this new world order of a squeezed middle class. they bear the burden of property taxes with very little educational options for their children.

  • Philly


  • Karl

    Decades ago, the tuition was cheap as most of the teaching was done by priests and nuns who received almost no salary. Today the current union catholic teachers earn much less than their public school counterparts but they done earn substantially more than the dioceses had ever paid in the past. The costs are unsustainable in the current Obama economy where many parents are unemployed.

    • Bill

      Blaming the government?? Blame those who refuse to contribute to their parish (who also should be refused Catholic burial) which is why parishes will be affected as well. a PERCENTAGE OF THE COLLECTION PLATE is set aside as parish school subsidy.

  • Toti Murcia

    Not fair for the students, I have two and they are having such a difficult time right now

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