Parish pastors and administrators of Catholic schools slated to merge or close learned details of a process to appeal the recommendations for their schools during a meeting with more than 300 personnel from affected parishes and schools Jan. 10 at the Drexelbrook Conference Center in Delaware County.

Officials from the Office of Catholic Education outlined the review process for parish and school administrators who believe the recommendation to regionalize or close their school should be reconsidered.

The meeting followed the announcement last week of the merger or closing of dozens of Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, as recommended by the Blue Ribbon Commission on Catholic education.

The Archdiocese has established two review committees, one for parish elementary schools and one for high schools, to facilitate requests for review.

Pastors, elementary school principals and high school presidents seeking an appeal were asked to contact the Office of Catholic Education to request a meeting with the appropriate review committee.

The committees consist of members of the Blue Ribbon Commission and archdiocesan administrators. Review meetings will start Jan. 12 and continue through early February.

During the meetings school representatives will review all the facts used by the Blue Ribbon Commission to reach its recommendations. Those requesting a review will also be given the opportunity to present the reasoning for their appeal along with supporting facts and documentation.

The review committees will present all information to Archbishop Charles Chaput for his consideration, after which he will make a final decision. A final listing of the schools affected is expected to be made public by mid-February.

Archdiocesan officials stressed that the decisions need to be finalized soon to give ample time to the affected communities. They need to choose a new name for the school, establish it at the recommended building site, form a new school administration, hire new faculty and staff and allow time for parents to register their children in the school all before the new term begins in September.

March 25 is the target date for newly reconfigured schools to hold open-house informational sessions for parents of prospective students at the recommended school sites.