By Mike DeNardo

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The final word on local Catholic school consolidation is expected in the next several weeks.   Half of the schools on the closure list are appealing the recommendation (see related story), but half have decided not to fight.

Despite a small uptick in enrollment and a $40,000 tuition assistance program, Msgr. Stephen McHenry says he decided not to appeal the blue ribbon panel’s recommendation that his St. Anthony-St. Joseph Elementary School in Ambler, Pa. be closed and merged into a regional school in Maple Glen.

“When you look at the overall benefit of what we will be able to do and what kinds of programs we will be able to offer our children, then I just sensed that that was the direction to go in.”

A survey by the Philadelphia Inquirer shows that 24 of the 49 schools designated for closure have appealed.

McHenry says enrollment at St. Anthony is at 163 this year, up from 142 the year before.  But he says he’s supporting Archbishop Charles Chaput’s plan (see related story) because it will sustain Catholic education as a whole — even if it means his school has to close.

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