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In Part 3: Academic Excellence, the Archdiocese of Washington DC sets out the overarching policy on Curriculum Standards, Instructional Standards, Assessments, Professional Standards, Student Life, etc. Nothing that you would not normally expect.
In Part 4: Affordability and Accessibility, we find probably the most interesting information.
The writers refer back to the October 2007 Convocation for Catholic Education, which identified a new model for Catholic funding. At that time, they members felt that the traditional model of one parish, one school was unworkable, and that
a new model should be developed that would recognize the need to more equitably distribute the cost of Catholic education, i.e., that funds be made available from across the whole archdiocese to assist students in attending all of our Catholic schools.
A couple more excerpts from this:
“we cannot save every Catholic school, and cannot guarantee that every child will receive a Catholic school education.”
“support for schools cannot continue to be funneled as subsidies to a few struggling schools…consensus that tuition assistance is the correct approach going forward.”
(Now, in a much earlier posting, I fully agreed with the new tuition assistance model. It makes more sense and keeps more children in school, which in turn, means that more parents are involved. )
“the root of the financial difficulties…is the fact that there is substantial gap between what families and parishes provide in tuition and other support, and the actual cost of operating a school and maintaining the facilities.”
I would agree to that point but we did not get into that situation overnight. It has been a long process in which the Church has not marketed the benefits of a Catholic education, and that the teaching of the faith has been watered down over the years, so Catholics don’t see the real need to spend time or $$$ on education. An hour a week at CCD class and Mass once a week is all you need. No Catholic literature, no Catholic books, nothing else. And when you are done w/ elementary or high school, who cares about Sunday Mass, except on Christmas and Easter.
Also, we have not invested in the long term. A friend of mine in another Archdiocese tells me that his Diocese hired a grant writer for a period of two years for a group of schools. The purpose was to apply for grants whenever possible, as well as, help to market to alumni. Although it did not bring in a high ratio, it did bring in two dollars for every one dollar spent.
The goal of the Archdioces is to raise a total of $6million for education. There is a $2.4 million dollar gap.
How are they planning on raising this money? There are a couple of ways.
Currently all parishes are assessed a certain percentage of the offertory income. They have proposed only options and of course, there is one they recommend.
Option 1: Increase the current education assessment on parish offertory by 50%. So, if they assess, let’s say 2%, they would increase the assessment to 3%.
Option 2: Increase the assessment by 50% to all parishes which directly sponsor a school or “support a regional school” and increase the assessment by over 400% to parishes w/o a school. Note that this is the recommended choice.
They will also focus on Archdiocesan Fundraising. There are two options.
First option is to conduct an archdiocese wide capital campaign to raise funds for tuition assistance. This would only begin after Forward in Faith has been completed but it may be started quietly before Forward in Faith has been completed.
The second option would be a second collection with each parish assessed a certain amount of $$$.
The report continues to discuss Tuition Assistance, school fundraising (in which endowments seem to be discouraged), communications, etc.
However, there are a number of other interesting items to come out of this section:
School representatives are to schedule routine opportunities to discuss how to build a shared sense of community, leverage shared resources, and reduce costs with all parishes within 10 driving miles of the school.
If a minimum of 65% of the enrolled students in one school can be accommodated by excess capacity in a Catholic school within 10 driving miles, pastors, principals and other parish representatives have an obligation to meet…to pursue opportunities to pool resources and next steps.
All Catholic elementary schools…are encouraged to partner with other…schools within a region. Recognize the advantages and manage the regionalization of two or more schools to ensure long-term Catholic, excellent, affordable and accessible schools are sustained and sought.
My thoughts on how they can make up these funds tomorrow.