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June 5, 2009


Our Lady of Hope Parish School to Close

Reverend Efren Esmilla, Pastor of Our Lady of Hope Parish in the Logan section of North Philadelphia, today announced that his recommendation to close Our Lady of Hope Parish elementary school has been accepted by Cardinal Justin Rigali, Archbishop of Philadelphia. Father Esmilla recently informed faculty members and school families that the school would close at the completion of the 2008-09 school year. Our Lady of Hope School families will be accommodated at several nearby Catholic elementary schools, including DePaul Catholic School (formerly St. Martin de Porres Interparochial School) in Germantown, Incarnation of Our Lord Parish School in Olney, St. William Parish School in Lawncrest and St. Timothy Parish School in Lower Mayfair.

The recommendation to close Our Lady of Hope Parish School was directly related to steady decline in the school's enrollment that continues to impact negatively the financial health of both the school and the parish. Over the past 10 years, Our Lady of Hope enrollment has declined by more than 80%. The enrollment for the 2008-2009 school year was 136, and registration for the 2009-2010 school year was at 50 students. The school needed to raise approximately $300,000 to maintain its operations.

The low number of students, combined with increasing expenses, would have forced the school to increase tuition to a rate beyond the means of school families. The cost per pupil would have been in excess of $8,000. With the parish unable to provide subsidy to the school, the parents would have had to assume the entire cost.

Superintendent of Catholic Schools Mary E. Rochford said, "No one ever wants to see a school close. We try always to think long-term for students and to provide an affordable, accessible, quality Catholic education. I recognize this is difficult and the Office of Catholic will do all that is possible to ensure a smooth transition that provides comfort and the best educational outcome for each family."


Donna Farrell
Director of Communications

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