Saint Bartholomew School in Portage Park to close and merge with Pope Francis Global Academy
by BRIAN NADIG
Founded in 1921, Saint Bartholomew School at 4921 W. Patterson Ave. in Portage Park will be closing at the end of this school year and merging with the Pope Francis Global Academy at 6143 W. Irving Park Road.
Archdiocese of Chicago Catholic Schools superintendent Greg Richmond announced the decision in a Jan. 19 letter to parents.
“The new, merged school will be housed at the PFGA campus and retain the PFGA name. All St. Bartholomew students are invited to join PFGA beginning in the fall of 2023.
“Ms. Nilma Osiecki, currently the principal at St. Bartholomew, will serve as the principal of the unified PFGA beginning July 1, 2023. Eli Argamaso will continue to serve as the principal of PFGA for the remainder of this school year,” Richmond wrote.
In the letter, Richmond said that enrollment “struggles” have caused a financial strain on both campuses.
“Uniting these two student bodies on one campus will stabilize financials and couple resources to offer academic and extracurricular opportunities that the individual schools could not offer on their own.
“Although difficult, I believe this merger will result in a robust, vibrant school that can provide an excellent, faith-based education for every student,” he added.
The Saint Bartholomew Parish merged with the Our Lady of Victory and Saint Pascal parishes in 2021, forming the new Our Lady of the Rosary Parish. Both the Saint Bartholomew and Saint Pascal churches remain open as part of the new parish, while the Our Lady of Victory Church was closed.
At one time the Pope Francis academy had two campuses, but several years ago the north campus was replaced by the Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity School, 6040 W. Ardmore Ave.
In recent years several Catholic schools and churches on Chicago’s Northwest Side have closed.