Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Catholic Schools - What is the Future? Still More Thoughts...

The Catholic Standard this week (Nov. 4, 2010 page 7) quotes Thomas Burnford, the archdiocesan Secretary for Catholic Educuation. He says:

"It's not always easy, but we have to be open and honest when we face difficulties..." "It's great when a comunity comes together to have an open and honest discussion about the future."

Let's face some facts here. The Archdiocese is basically telling the parishes and schools, that the problem is your problem, not our (the Archdiocese) problem. If you want a school next year, you have to raise X amount of dollars.

Now, the one good thing is that they are giving parishes more time to come up with the cash but still, they are putting the full burden on them.

The article discusses the process and the success of the consolidation of St. Mark the Evangelist (Hyattsville) and St. Camillus (Silver Spring). However, they are not telling you the full story.

1. St. Mark's was told that in order to remain open, they had to come up with $90,000. They came up with $86,000. But guess what, they were told that since they did not get the $90K, they were merging. You didn't hear about this in the Standard.

2. The the St. Francis International School was launched with great fanfare. However, enrollment is less than projected. Many of the St. Mark parents have sent their children elsewhere. In addition, there were layoffs at the start of the year due to this low enrollment. Neither of these facts were shared with you.

Look folks, the bottom line is that Cardinal-elect Wuerl is looking to shut down a number of Catholic schools. Remember when I wrote about this during the discussion of the policy and I was told that there were no plans to close any school down. What happened just a few months later? Do you really believe that they did not have a couple of schools in their sights?

Cardinal-elect Wuerl is doing it gradually and not in one fell swoop, like they did a number of years ago in DC. It prevents a public relations disaster and also keeps the awareness down to a bare minimum. If you close one or two schools this year, and one or two next, you really don't notice it (or may not hear about it) like you would 10 or 12 at a time.*

In addition, he and the Archdiocese are not going to take the heat for the closings..they are firmly placing the burden on the parishes. By placing it on you, it absolves the Archdiocese.

What do you think?

UPDATE (7am): Just this morning, a friend of mine informed me that up to 15 Catholic Schools (affecting over 4.000 students) may close in the Archdiocese of NYC. It has made the major newspapers and will be in the media for the next few months.



Anonymous said...

Since we know Susan Gibbs and other Archdiocesan officials monitor this blog, we would like to pose a few questions about the state of Catholic education. Ms. Gibbs, as you know in the Spring of 2008, the Archdiocese had envisioned an eight campus Center City Public Charter School presence. There were to be public charter schools operating in former Catholic schools by the Fall of 2009 at these sites: Holy Comforter/ St. Cyprian, Holy Name, Immaculate Conception, St. Francis de Sales, Saint Gabriels, Nativity, and Our Lady Queen of Peace. As you know, there is nocharter school operating at the St. Francis de Sales site because after the 2008-2009 school year, Center City Public Charter Schools closed that school. In addition, there never was any charter school opened at the Queen of Peace site as the Archdiocese had envisioned. A private school, The Cornerstone school, now operates at the Queen of Peace site. In the Spring of 2008, the Archdiocese granted Center City Public Charter Schools Inc. the right of first offer to take control of any other PreK to 8th grade campus that had been identified for closure. Ms Gibbs, is that offer still valid? We would like you to comment on the condtion of Center City Public Charter Schools Inc. Specifically, why did Center City not expand to the Queen of Peace site? Is it because the organization is not in good financial condition? The Committee awaits your answer.

Dymphna said...

So I guess unless you live in a rich parish pull your kids out and send them to one of the few non diocesan Catholic schools which is not an option for most people. This really is sad.