Our Lady of Victory begins new school year after facing closure

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Our Lady of Victory School in Portage Park began a new school year after facing closure. (WLS)

Our Lady of Victory School was slated to close this year. But class is back in session for the Catholic school in Portage Park, thanks to the community's support.

"I feel like from the get-go it was, 'OK, we've got this. We're not going to close. We can save the school,'" said Lisa Welsh, an Our Lady of Victory parent.

The Archdiocese of Chicago notified the parish that it had to meet the school's annual budget deficit of $400,000 this year or face closure. The deficit had been subsidized by the archdiocese in the past.

But Cardinal Francis George said the archdiocese has spent around $30 million subsidizing various schools in the area, and the cost is no longer sustainable. In an effort to restructure the archdiocese's budget, a number of schools were slated to close if their parish could not raise the money in time.

Thanks to the work of dedicated parents, staff and alumni, Our Lady of Victory was able to raise $750,000 in only two weeks - with a single gift of $80,000 from an anonymous donor.

"It was wonderful," Our Lady of Victory pastoral associate Mary Beth Frystak said. "It's something we've been anticipating and hoped for in January, when they said there was a possibility we wouldn't be here. But we weren't going to allow that news to happen."

The school will have to continue to raise money to fund the deficit for the next three years in order to remain open after the 2014-2015 school year. The school's next fundraiser is scheduled for September.

But school officials also said enrollment is up this year. Our Lady of Victory welcomed 183 students to class on Tuesday.
Related Topics:
educationcatholic schoolmoneyschool closingsschool closuresChicago - Portage Park
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