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Catholic Diocese of Memphis announces Sunset for Jubilee Schools

About the Jubilee Catholic Schools Network

The first Jubilee school opened in 1999 through a partnership between the Catholic Diocese of Memphis and donors to provide low-income Memphis families with educational options for their children. The Diocese provided school buildings, administrative support and educational experience. The donors provided funding to operate the schools. The Jubilee Network consists of nine schools educating over 1,500 students from grades Pre-K to 12.

These schools have been successful in achieving their mission of excellent academics. Students have scored above the national average in reading, language arts and math. In 2016-17, students in kindergarten averaged in the 89th national percentile in reading and 83rd national percentile in math.


The challenge over the years has been funding the costs of operating the schools. Funding for the schools has been provided primarily through a trust funded by very generous donors plus annual fundraising. The trust is nearly depleted and the Catholic Diocese can only fund the schools through the 2018-19 school year.

Charter School Group

A group committed to quality education has proposed opening new charter schools serving Jubilee school geographic areas. These charter schools would open as a new system, separate and independent of the Catholic Diocese. Jubilee students enrolling in the new charter schools will maintain continuity in education with a strong foundation already in place. The charter group plans to file letters of intent with Shelby County Schools and the State on February 1 to operate this network of charter schools and applications on April 1.

How will this work?

The Catholic Diocese and Jubilee Catholic Schools Network will continue to operate the schools through the 2018-19 school year.

The new charter group will submit letters of intent by February 1 with Shelby County Schools and the State, which is the first step in the process to establish new charter schools.

What does this mean for my child?

Children enrolled in Jubilee Catholic Schools next year would be able to apply for enrollment in the new charter schools for the following year.

What would be different?

The schools would be tuition-free since they would be public charter schools and no longer affiliated with the Diocese. As a charter school, religion would not be part of the curriculum. Religious education opportunities for students remain available at parishes throughout the Catholic Diocese.

What about the principals and teachers?

Principals and teachers will be able to apply for leadership and teacher opportunities at the new charter schools.

What if I want my children to remain in a Catholic school?

Students will be able to apply for enrollment at any of the Catholic Diocesan schools.

Will my child have a scholarship to another Catholic elementary or high school?

Jubilee scholarships will no longer available after the 2018-2019 school year. Families may apply for scholarships offered by the Parish Schools and Catholic Diocesan or private high schools.

Why now?

The changes in the educational environment, along with increasing financial challenges for the Catholic Diocese and the Jubilee Catholic Schools Network, have had a profound effect on continuing our mission. The Catholic Diocese was hopeful that proposed legislation allowing publicly funded opportunity scholarships (vouchers) would provide for the Jubilee Catholic Schools sustainability. Unfortunately, this legislation did not pass.

What happens next?

Representatives from the Catholic Diocese will meet with parents, teachers and staff in the coming weeks to provide additional information. We will continue working with our school communities to do all we can to give the students the best opportunities and future we can.

What about next year?

The Jubilee Catholic Schools will remain open through the 2018-2019 school year. Registration for next school year is going on now. We hope you will register your student for the 2018-2019 school year as we are looking forward to serving you and your child again next year.