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Philadelphia Archdiocese To Begin Hearing Appeals On School Closures

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By Mike DeNardo and Pat Ciarrocchi

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Archdiocese of Philadelphia Thursday begins hearing appeals from those schools trying to stave off closure.

Review committees will hear evidence from schools that believe the facts show they should remain open.

The Holy Trinity School in Morrisville, Pa. has its hearing on Tuesday. Pastor John Eckert plans to present the reasons his school should not merge with St. John’s in Lower Makefield.

“Number one, I think, would be busing, or the lack of busing,” Eckert tells KYW Newsradio. “Morrisville is a walking community, and our children would certainly never be able to walk to the new school site.”

He adds that a lot of parents are middle and low-income and might not be able to drive their children to the new school site each morning.

Some schools, though, are not appealing.

Brother Tim Ahearn, president of West Catholic High School, says he can’t argue with the archdiocese’s enrollment figures.

“The factual information is correct as to our current student body,” he says. “The fact that there are fewer and fewer kids in the Southwest and West Philadelphia area to attend a Catholic school. So we really don’t have any grounds to appeal.”

The review committees will present their findings to Archbishop Charles Chaput, who is expected to rule on the appeals by mid-February.

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