Our Lady of Victory, St Cornelius school buildings to close next year
by BRIAN NADIG
To longtime institutions in Jefferson Park – the Our Lady of Victory and Saint Cornelius school buildings — will be closing their doors next year as a result of the school consolidation plan being implemented by the Archdiocese of Chicago.
The archdiocese has announced that the host campuses for the new regional school which will open for the 2016-17 school year will be Saint Pascal School, 6143 W. Irving Park Road, and Saint Tarcissus School, 6040 W. Ardmore Ave. Both Our Lady of Victory, 4434 N. Laramie Ave., and Saint Cornelius, 5252 N. Long Ave., will close after the 2015-16 school year.
The regional planning process, which included representatives of each of the four affected parishes, began several months ago, and archdiocese officials have said that it would reconsider the recommendations of the planning committee established at each parish before a final determination is made on which campuses to close. Two of the four school buildings needed to be closed in order to save enough money, according to the archdiocese.
However, for many parish families in the area, the only unanswered question was whether Saint Pascal or Our Lady of Victory would close.
Saint Cornelius officials have acknowledged for months that they did not expect their school building to be used for the planned regional school. In addition, many parents whose children attend one of the fours schools have said that they expected Saint Tarcissus, which recently received some noise abatement improvements to its building, likely would be one of the host campuses.
Archdiocese officials have stressed that not matter which school buildings are closed, all four parishes would have an active role in the new regional school. Teachers and administrators are expected to have to reapply for their jobs.
The Our Lady of Victory Parish was organized in 1906, and the Saint Cornelius Parish was founded in 1925. Plans are being made to convert the convents at both parishes into group living homes, but the fate of the school buildings is not known.
All four schools in the consolidation plan have experienced large enrollment drops in the past 15 years. Officials at two other parochial schools, Saint Constance School at 5841 W. Strong St., and Saint Thecla School at 6323 N. Newcastle Ave., decided not to join the regional plan.
The archdiocese does not plan to provide financial assistance to Saint Thecla and Saint Constance.