PORTAGE PARK — Three months after parishioners at Our Lady of Victory learned their school was slated to close at the end of the school year, parents received some welcome news: They remain on track to save the school.
News of plans to close the school galvanized parishioners to raise almost $1 million in just weeks, leading the Archdiocese of Chicago to reverse its decision.
On Tuesday, parents and parishioners got an update on their efforts to keep open the school.
Parishioners have raised more than $900,000 toward closing a $1.2 million projected budget deficit over the next three years.
LISTEN: Quinn Ford tells the remarkable story of Our Lady of Victory and how the school is now scheduled to remain open next fall:
Enrollment has also improved. For the 2014-2015 school year, enrollment is currently at 149 students, about 24 fewer students than the budgeted enrollment for next year. At this time last year, 109 students were registered.
"We felt like we were blindsided three months ago to the day," said Tom Calhoun, a parent and member of the finance committee formed to help save the school earlier this year.
"We now know what we are doing," said Dan Rest, another finance committee member. "We're going to need a period of time to get back on our feet."
The archdiocese charged parishioners with establishing a plan to close the school's budget deficit through the 2016-2017 school year. The archdiocese had been making up a significant portion of the school's $1.1 million operating budget, including providing $400,000 in the past two years.
Next school year, the budget deficit is expected to be 23 percent of its budget. That is projected to decline to 14 percent the following year and five percent for the 2016-2017 school year, committee members said. Donations will be expected to make up the remainder of the shortfall.
The budget is based on 10 percent enrollment growth in each of the next three years. In 2017, the school is projected to have 200 students. That growth is expected to start with students enrolling in preschool, which has seen increases, according to committee members.
Students' families will be asked to raise $400 each year by selling 20 tickets to a monthly $500 raffle. Annual tuition per student is about $5,000.
Also, two annual fundraisers, the spring Victory Ball and the Fall Harvest, will be expected to raise at least $25,000.
The Victory Ball is May 10, and tickets are $40 per person.