St. Bernardine, Forest Park's Only Catholic School, to Close
St. Bernardine plans to end the school year in early June after 98 years in operation.
St. Bernardine School, the only Catholic school in Forest Park, will be closing its doors in June after 98 years in service.
Declining enrollment and the amount of money needed to operate the school were cited as the reasons for closing their doors, principal Veronica Cash said Friday.
The school is located at 815 Elgin Ave.
The last day of school for first through seventh graders will be June 7. Eighth graders will graduate May 31.
Families learned about the closing Thursday night from officials with the Archdiocese of Chicago Catholic Schools as part of a parents' meeting.
"We're saddened by the news," said Cash, who has been the principal at St. Bernardine's since the summer. "A lot of our children have been here since they were 3 years old."
Cash said that the school was not operated by the parish, which will remain open, but by the Archidiocese. For the Archdiocese, St. Bernardine's was at its "fiscal cliff," Cash said.
A fair will be set up from 7 to 8:30 p.m., Jan. 22 at the school so that parents can learn about their education options for next year. The goal will be to keep kids in Catholic school.
Approximately 101 students are enrolled this year; 16 teachers and staff work there.
In the meantime, the school will still celebrate Catholic Schools Week, which begins Jan. 27 and celebrate what they have at St. Bernardine.
"People can come in and celebrate—or grieve," Cash said. "We're going to deal with feelings as they happen."
Efforts to speak with officials from the Archdiocesean Office of Catholic Schools were unsuccessful.
If you're looking to stay in the Catholic school system and want to find a new school for your kids next year, check out this page for a map of area Catholic schools.
The link will connect you to the Archdiocese of Chicago Catholic Schools website. There are about five other Catholic grade schools located in Oak Park and River Forest that you can consider.
Readers, tell us comments what Catholic school you would recommend. You can even give them a review through our directory here.