Archdiocese to hear schools' appeals

Posted: January 11, 2012

ADMINISTRATORS and priests at Catholic schools slated for closure will get a second chance at keeping their institutions open beginning tomorrow, when the Archdiocese of Philadelphia gets set to hear their appeals.

"This is a human process. Mistakes can happen," said Archdiocese spokeswoman Donna Farrell. "The archbishop is confident in the process that has occurred over the past year. It was a very thoughtful, deliberate process. He also acknowledged that it's a human process, so he knows when it's time to take a look."

The appeals process and other details of the transition process were explained yesterday in meetings with pastors, principals and high-school administrators. Only representatives from the affected schools participated, Farrell said.

Archbishop Charles J. Chaput is expected to make his decision by mid-February.

Priests of parish elementary schools and presidents of high schools may submit requests for an appeals meeting by Feb. 1 to the Office of Catholic Education.

A school then would meet for about an hour with a review committee composed of members of the Archdiocese's blue-ribbon commission and Archdiocese administrators. Any other school affected by a closing would be invited to attend the meeting, Farrell said.

In the appeal meeting, the review committee would present the facts that were considered in making a recommendation for closure. The appealing school then would present its facts to bolster its argument to remain open.

The review committee would then give its recommendation to Chaput, who would make the final decision.

One thorny problem for the Archdiocese could arise Jan. 19, Universal Visitation Day, when Catholic-school eighth-graders traditionally visit the high school they are interested in attending. The Archdiocese confirmed last night that no closing high schools would hold visitation day.

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