The Archdiocese of Philadelphia is handing over management of more than 20 schools to a private foundation, creating the country’s first independently run Catholic education system, reports The Philadelphia Inquirer.
An agreement signed Tuesday by Archbishop Charles J. Chaput turns over 17 high schools and four special-education institutions with a combined student body of about 16,000 to the Faith in the Future Foundation, a newly incorporated group led by H. Edward Hanway, former chief executive officer of health insurer Cigna.
Mr. Hanway served on a blue-ribbon commission that shaped a restructuring of the city’s Catholic education system, leading to a spate of school closures and mergers, and was put in charge of Faith in the Future, launched earlier this year with a goal of raising $100-million for parish schools, which have seen enrollment shrink and deficits grow in recent years.
“We’ve done a good job for years on the educational side. We still do,” said Bishop Michael Fitzgerald, the archdiocese’s top education official. “It doesn’t mean that we can’t do that in more creative ways, through some other entrepreneurial partnerships.”