PORTLAND – A group of parents hoping to keep Cathedral School open beyond this year met Wednesday with Bishop Richard J. Malone to outline a proposal for a new way to finance the parochial school.

The parents met with Malone and other officials of the Portland diocese for more than an hour and presented plans to address both a $115,000 deficit and the school’s long-term finances, said Heidi Czerkes, one of the parents in the meeting.

The diocese announced in April that the 147-year-old school would close after the last day of classes on June 16, but Malone recently agreed to meet with parents who want the school to remain open.

The parents’ plan draws on funding arrangements used by a number of other dioceses around the country, Czerkes said, adding that she would not elaborate on the proposal while Malone is considering it.

“It’s a well-founded sustainability model that addresses underlying issues that face our school and others,” Czerkes said.

She said the deficit would be addressed with fundraising efforts, a “substantial” gift from a donor and other measures, which she also declined to detail.

The group asked Malone to issue a decision by Friday and he agreed, she said.

“Time is of the essence,” Czerkes said, because if Malone decides to adopt the new financial plan, it will take time to get the elements in place.

If Malone rejects the proposal and closes Cathedral, parents need to make decisions about where their children will attend school in the fall, she said.

Sue Bernard, a spokeswoman for the diocese, said the plan is “well thought-out” and Malone will consult with advisers as he considers it. Although the time frame for a decision is short, she said, the diocese, like the parents, wants to decide the school’s future quickly.

Czerkes, whose son is a first-grader at Cathedral, said parents are attached to the Cumberland Avenue school because its students come from a diverse population and its values reflect those of the parents.

“We believe the Cathedral School epitomizes the Catholic church’s stance on social justice,” she said. “It’s everything that’s right about being Catholic.”

Staff Writer Edward D. Murphy can be contacted at 791-6465 or at [email protected]