CHICAGO — A Northwest Side Catholic school that was on a list of schools slated for closure by the Archdiocese of Chicago will be spared for the time being, its principal said Friday evening.
Our Lady of Victory School will stay open thanks to $750,000 in donations, including $80,000 from an anonymous donor. But the school must continue to raise money in order to guarantee it stays open next year.
The Portage Park school managed to raise the money in just two weeks, holding fundraisers at local businesses and asking parishioners and alumni for donations.
The Archdiocese of Chicago notified the parish earlier this month it would shutter the school if the parish could not close the school's annual budget deficit of $400,000, which the archdiocese had been subsidizing in recent years.
In a meeting this week, the archdiocese told the school it could host its open house and begin registration for the next school year, said Mary Beth Frystak, the church's director of religious education.
Archdiocese officials said the decision was made in light of "fantastic fundraising in such a short amount of time," Frystak said.
Principal Jennifer Hodge sent an email to parents informing them of the news.
"We have received the green light to continue to plan for our future," Hodge said in an email. "I can't thank you enough for your continued support and patience. We just concluded our meeting with the Archdiocese and we are very grateful for their commitment to our school's success."
Frystak said the school must continue raising money to fund its budget for the next three years and said this week's announcement does not definitively mean the school will remain open next year.
"It's a very positive message," Frystak said. "We're definitely going in the right direction, and we are moving forward."
Two more fundraisers are planned at local restaurants in the next two weeks, Frystak said, and she added parishioners took the news of the school's closing as a "wake-up call," not a decision.
"In two weeks, we have come so far...I think now they're seeing that we're serious," she said. "We knew we could do this."
St. Christopher School in Midlothian will also stay open, the SouthtownStar reported.