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Our Lady of Victory Fights to Stay Open, Will Learn Its Future in 10 Days

By Darryl Holliday | January 16, 2014 8:13am
 Our Lady of Victory, 4434 N. Laramie.
Our Lady of Victory, 4434 N. Laramie.
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CHICAGO — With about 10 days left before a final decision on whether it will remain open, Our Lady of Victory School officials remain optimistic.

Last week, the Archdiocese of Chicago told parishioners the school, along with five other Catholic schools in the Chicagoland area, would likely close at the end of the year. To remain open, the school must find a way to close its current budget deficit of $400,000.

On Wednesday, Our Lady of Victory staff sent a written message to parents brushing aside reports of the school's demise.

According to the message, the archdiocese is giving the school until Jan. 21 to submit a three-year proposal on how to keep it open. Our Lady of Victory will know around Jan. 24 whether their proposal has been accepted, the message said.

More than 300 people packed the school's cafeteria Friday night to come up with alternate financing for the school.

Our Lady of Victory School, which has been operating for more than 100 years, has been on the archdiocese's watch list for years due to budget problems and low enrollment.

The school has seen great improvement under the new leadership of Principal Jennifer Hodge, who took over in 2012. When Hodge came to the school, 80 children were enrolled in the school, which serves kindergarten through eighth grade. That enrollment has grown to 170 students as of this week.

According to a news release from school officials, Our Lady of Victory Catholic School has had a substantial increase in enrollment of approximately 88 percent in the past 18 months.  

"Upon hearing the news of the possibility of not reopening for the 2014-2015 school year, the OLV community has come together to create a sustainable plan for the future success of the school," according to the news release. "The school has also begun to raise funds for the 2014-2015 school year, and has been successful thus far raising nearly $165,000 in continuing pledges."

As of Wednesday, that amount was updated to $175,000, officials said.

School officials said they would be meeting with parents in the next two weeks to answer specific questions and concerns.