A couple of days ago, I posted on the City Center Consortium -- the amount of money spent, the merging of some schools, closing of others and the conversion of some into "values based" Charter schools. I would like to take this opportunity to follow-up on this.
First, I think that Archbishop Wuerl did the right thing and needs to be given credit for facing this issue head on. I do not believe that this is something he wanted to do and it was a difficult choice but I do believe that he did the right thing.
I think one of the most important issues discussed was the fact that he realizes that Catholic education, especially at the elementary school level, is hurting across the entire archdiocese. Costs have gone up and enrollment is down. This is due to a number of factors, not just any one particular one.
Second, the use of the school facilities for charter schools will bring some much needed revenue into parishes that may have seen their donations drop over the years. The drop in donations is usually due to a change in demographics. Since charter schools pay rent, it will be a boon to these parishes. Many inner city parishes (and that even includes the one that I grew up in) are facing the same problems -- delayed maintenance, increased costs and a decrease in donations.
Finally, I do think that we should be pushing more for "vouchers" or some sort of tax relief for parents who send their children to Catholic school. To that end, a future posting will be on my proposal for "vouchers."