Chicago archdiocese eliminates 75 positions - New York News

Chicago archdiocese eliminates 75 positions, closes five schools

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CHICAGO (Sun-Times Media Wire) -

The Archdiocese of Chicago is eliminating 75 positions and will close or consolidate five schools, officials announced on Wednesday.

Sixty jobs have been eliminated, which include 15 which had not been filled, according to a letter to parishioners written by Cardinal Francis George. Of the 75 positions, 55 were full-time.

All jobs were at both the Archbishop Quigley and Cardinal Meyer pastoral centers.

The cardinal said the job eliminations will save about $11 to $13 million dollars annually by 2015.

Chicago's Saint Gregory's High School, Saint Helena's Elementary, and Saint Paul Elementary are slated to close. Also, two suburban schools, Saint Bernadine in Forest Park and Saint Kieran in Chicago Heights will also be eliminated.

George said that closures are tied to demographic changes and financial challenges.

The diocese also is reducing aid to schools by $10 million.

"This review of Archdiocesan finances has been necessary but difficult," George wrote. "Reductions in some services and in staffing will, of course, be particularly difficult for the persons and parishes directly affected by them."

He said the layoffs are necessary. Administrative operations have run operating deficits of more than $30 million in each of the past four years.

The Archdiocese also will scale back on capital loans and grants to parishes and lay out "stricter criteria needed to qualify for such aid," the letter said.

"We need to be more careful about the types of projects we can fund; we need to rely on parishes to pursue their own funding when possible; we need to adhere to stricter underwriting guidelines and to adhere more closely to budget," the cardinal said. "There will likely be needs that are simply not fundable and we will have to work with those parishes on alternative plans."

The pastoral centers are made up of services that support parishes in their local ministries, provide administrative functions and help with financial support for needy parishes and schools.

The letter detailing finances and the layoffs appeared on the archdiocese's website Wednesday afternoon. George is in Rome to help choose the next Pope.

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