They came armed with plans, with pleas, with hundreds of thousands of dollars raised.
But in the end, it wasn’t enough: Archbishop Nelson Pérez told representatives of John W. Hallahan Catholic Girls’ High School and Bishop McDevitt High School on Monday that their schools will close in June, despite efforts by supporters of both schools to keep them open.
The Archdiocese of Philadelphia in November ordered the schools closed at the end of the 2020-21 academic year, citing years of deficits and dwindling enrollment. The boards of each said they were confident in the schools’ strengths and their ability to reverse the tide.
McDevitt, in Wyncote, had raised nearly $400,000 in donations and was formulating a plan to open in September as a Catholic school independent of the archdiocese. Hallahan, in Center City, had about $56,000 raised and was exploring its options.
Pérez, a statement from the McDevitt board of directors said, did not challenge its plans or data, but “denied our request to operate an independent, faith-based school on the current Bishop McDevitt property, dismissing the opportunities we presented.”
The McDevitt board said it was “exploring alternative options, which will take additional time and effort.”
Hallahan’s board said in a statement that the archbishop “listened respectfully to the requests for reprieve but stood by his decision to close Hallahan in June 2021.”
The board is considering other options, it said. Hallahan is the nation’s first all-girls’ diocesan Catholic high school.
A third area Catholic high school, Saint Basil Academy in Jenkintown, is also slated to close in June, citing financial pressures. That 89-year-old girls’ school is independent of the archdiocese and run by the Ukrainian Catholic Sisters of Saint Basil the Great.