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Families, Alumni Reaching Out to Keep St. Christopher School Open

The Midlothian Catholic school is looking for ways to stop the Archdiocese of Chicago from closing its doors. If it does close, some students could end up at Oak Forest's St. Damian School.

St. Christopher School is one of the six Catholic schools the Archdiocese of Chicago is slated to close at the end of this school year. | Credit: Margie McHugh Larmon
St. Christopher School is one of the six Catholic schools the Archdiocese of Chicago is slated to close at the end of this school year. | Credit: Margie McHugh Larmon
Although the Catholic schools within Oak Forest and Tinley Park weren't on the Archdiocese of Chicago's list of educational institutions it was shutting down, that doesn't mean the closings won't have a ripple effect on city and village residents.

Families whose children attend St. Christopher School in Midlothian, which was one of the six schools the archdiocese announced it was closing last week, are reaching out to neighboring communities for ways keep the school open. St. Christopher Parish was informed of the decision to close the school at a meeting Thursday.

READ: St. Bernadette’s Academy Slated to Close at End of School Year

The St. Christopher Finance Council, which "is spearheading the cause to save St. Christopher School," according to the school's Facebook page, will be meeting at 7 p.m. at St. Christopher Church in Midlothian to discuss ideas. A Help Save St. Christopher School Facebook page also has been set up for parents, alumni and friends of the school. There's even a PayPal account where people can donate to keep St. Christopher's doors open.

According to the page, the school, which currently enrolls 217 students, has a $175,000 deficit this year and is projecting a $200,000 shortfall next year. St. Christopher School has 20 days to raise $300,000 in an effort for the archdiocese to reconsider its decision.

If the school is closed, some of those displaced students could wind up at St. Damian School in Oak Forest. It's one of a handful of Catholic schools—along with Incarnation School in Palos Heights, and St. Catherine of Alexandria and St. Linus schools in Oak Lawn—that the archdiocese is offering as alternatives for families wanting to continue a Catholic education, according to Cathy Casper, whose son attends St. Christopher. Students also would receive a $1,000 tuition voucher to attend these schools, she added.

"Considering tuition costs are over $4,000 per year, not including book fees, athletic costs, uniforms, parish donations, new parish fees, and extra fuel costs for the additional driving time, although generous, it's not enough," Casper wrote in an email to Patch.

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