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January 24, 2005

CARDINAL RIGALI ACCEPTS RECOMMENDATIONS
FOR SCHOOL RESTRUCTURING IN JUNE 2005

Cardinal Justin Rigali, Archbishop of Philadelphia, has accepted the recommendations to close Saint George Parish Elementary School in Glenolden, Delaware County and Saint Leo Parish Elementary School in the Tacony section of Philadelphia, effective June 2005.

Cardinal Rigali also accepted the recommendation to establish a new Regional Catholic Elementary School in the Bridesburg section of Philadelphia. Saint John Cantius and All Saints Parish Elementary Schools will consolidate to establish the new Regional Catholic School at the location of the current Saint John Cantius School site. Because of low registrations at the end of the 2003-2004 school year, the students from All Saints School were already welcomed into the student body of Saint John Cantius School.

The Regional Vicars, on behalf of the School Study/Steering Committees made the recommendations after extensive study and consultation concerning the declining enrollments at these schools, the impact on the educational programs and the increasing deficits of each of the schools. Cardinal Rigali said, "Closing a school is always difficult for a parish community and I realize that there is pain even though there is recognition of the necessity for closure. These schools have long and proud traditions. I want to extend my gratitude for all of the hard work and diligence of the Regional Vicars, the pastors and the Steering Committees and assure them of my prayers as they go forward. I pray that all of those involved in seeking to ensure that our children are formed in the faith will trust in the love of Jesus Christ."

Recommendations and Findings
The Saint George Parish School Study Committee based its recommendation on rapidly declining enrollment due to demographic changes in the area. There are only 181 students currently enrolled and just 132 of those students live within the parish boundaries. Since 1997, per pupil costs have increased 110 percent but tuition has only increased 20 percent in order to keep tuition costs within the financial capability of the school parents.

The Saint Leo Parish School Study Committee based its findings and conclusions on a steady decline of enrollment from 370 students in 1999-2000 to 197 students in 2004-2005, despite extensive and creative marketing efforts. The parish school worked to keep tuition affordable for parents. Tuition in 2004-05 for one child is $1950 while the actual cost to educate one student is $3157. The projected enrollment for 2005-2006 is 150 students; the per pupil cost would exceed $4000 per child.

The Steering Committee studying Saint John Cantius Parish Elementary School and All Saints Parish Elementary School offered its recommendation for restructuring because of dramatically decreasing enrollment and increasing costs. These facts led to a temporary solution for the 2004-2005 school year. As of May 2004, All Saints Parish School had only 71 children registered for the 2004-05 school year. Realizing that it would not be possible to preserve the educational integrity of the school and manage the financial challenges the parish would face with such a low school enrollment, the students from All Saints School were welcomed into the student body of Saint John Cantius School.

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Donna Farrell
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215-587-3747

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