St. Bede Catholic School to shut down despite fundraising efforts

LAKE COUNTY, Ill. - Despite raising over $500,000 earlier this year to avert closure, St. Bede Catholic School in Ingleside is shutting its doors due to low registration.

The school announced Thursday the decision was made after 119 students registered for the next school year, as of March 19. The enrollment target was 182.

Although the money was raised in January in a fundraising campaign to keep the school open, there were "not enough students enrolled to make the school viable," school officials said in a statement.

Rev. George Koeune, pastor of Our Lady of the Lakes Parish, and the school's finance council made the closure recommendation, which was accepted by Cardinal Blase J. Cupich.

Rev. Koeune penned a letter to the school, thanking the donors who contributed to the fundraiser earlier this year.

He told donors that their contribution could go toward funding scholarships for St. Bede's students to attend another Catholic school, or they could ask for a refund.

"The loss of the state Invest in Kids scholarship program created a feeling of uncertainty for the school’s future that could not be overcome — even by an incredible fundraising effort," Rev. Koeune said in the letter.

St. Bede's has a history spanning more than 65 years.