Cicero, Berwyn Catholic schools to close at end of school year after state ends scholarship funding

State lawmakers recently cut tax break funding for 'Invest in Kids' scholarship program

ByABC7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Friday, January 19, 2024
2 suburban Catholic schools to close at end of school year
St. Frances of Rome School in Cicero and St. Odilo School in Berwyn will close due to state funding ending for the "Invest in Kids" scholarship.

COOK COUNTY, Ill. (WLS) -- Two catholic schools in the Chicago area are closing because of the end of a tax break that funded scholarships, the Chicago Archdiocese said.

The pastors at Saint Frances of Rome School in Cicero and Saint Odilo School in Berwyn will both shut down at the end of the school year.

More than half of the students at those schools relied on the "Invest in Kids" scholarship program. The program provided tuition for low-income students.

People who donated to the program got tax breaks, but the Illinois General Assembly allowed the tax break to expire at the end of 2023.

RELATED | Family trying to raise $400K in matter of weeks to save St. Bede Catholic School

St. Leonard School in Berwyn and Our Lady of Charity School in Cicero will continue to operate, the Archdiocese said.

"Catholic schools are doing well academically and interest among families is strong," Superintendent of Catholic schools Greg Richmond said in a statement. "We believe the best way to keep Catholic education alive and thriving in Cicero and Berwyn is to consolidate our efforts on supporting one excellent school in each community. In this situation, trying to sustain four schools would have jeopardized all of them in the future. We are doing all that we can to keep our schools open, but the loss of the scholarship program will hurt. These may not be the last closures in our archdiocese."

Archdiocese officials hope the tax breaks are restored.