Aurora Area Schools Plan Next Steps
Faith Forward Update
By Penny Wiegert, Editor
July 6, 2017

AURORA—The Faith Forward strategic plan for Catholic schools has spawned a lot of thinking, discussion, ideas and many meetings.

One such meeting was held in  mid-June at Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish where pastors, principals, school commission members and financial leaders came together to discuss what they know from the findings of the strategic plan study and to consider opportunities for the future.

What they know

The data presented to parent groups across the diocese by Meitler Consultants of Milwaukee has shown

‘Aurora-area schools ... could very well provide an example for other regions in the diocese faced with the same issues.’

— Michael Kagan, diocesan superintendent of Catholic schools

that enrollment and population trends are requiring schools in many areas of the Rockford Diocese, including Aurora, to reevaluate themselves with regard to location, financing and facilities and to develop plans to address the immediate and long-term needs of Catholic education.

The purpose of this evaluation and planning is to make sure the high quality of diocesan Catholic education is both viable and sustainable in the decades to come.

Pastors and educational leaders also know that parents realize the one-parish, one-school model, although desirable to some, is no longer sustainable in the long-term based on the Meitler data.

According to principals of the schools at Our Lady of Good Counsel, St. Joseph, St. Peter, and St. Therese of Jesus parents have acknowledged the data and are ready to work toward solutions.

Next steps

What exactly the four schools will do to meet these challenges and what model they will choose is still being decided.

However, at the June 14 meeting,  pastors and school administrators moved forward, forming a task force responsible for evaluating specific options and for presenting information to parish and school families and to the diocese for input and feedback.

According to Michael Kagan, diocesan superintendent of Catholic Schools, “while it is still early in the process, the task force will meet during the summer months. Their initial recommendations will be presented in public meeetings early this fall,” he said.

“Right now, our timeline for implementing any decisions resulting from the task force recommendations would be for the 2018-19 school year. There will be no changes for the upcoming 2017-18 school year,” Kagan said.

“The ability of the Aurora-area schools to work together, and the enthusiasm with which they are approaching this challenge, could very well provide an example for other regions in the diocese faced with the same issues,” Kagan said.