Friday, June 27, 2008

Catholic Schools In Washington D.C-Without the Catholic Stuff

I hope this is not as bad as Creative Minority Report is making at to be. Sadly I think it might be. Go see Take the Money, Leave the Faith

If it is a issue of money then perhaps we can look for other solutions!! I do wonder why are the Catholic Schools in D.C having a money crunch and then we see this:

the Wichita, Kansas Catholic School System. With but 120,000 Catholics in the diocese Wichita maintains 39 Catholic schools. 36 of these are parish schools (including 34 elementary schools), one is a free-standing preschool, and four are Catholic high schools. According to the report, "

What makes the Wichita system truly unusual in this day and age is the fact that all Wichita Catholic schools have eliminated tuition for Catholic students."

This has been accomplished by pastors and the bishop calling on all "parishioners to live a 'stewardship way of life' that involved a greater commitment to their parish and Catholic ideals."The response has been nothing short of amazing. Learning from the example of one parish that had been modeling a stewardship program throughout the 1960s an 1970s, the bishop encouraged all his people to do the same starting in 1984. Support has grown so much since then that the last Catholic school to be charging any tuition to Catholic students stopped doing so in 2002.

Hmmmm what is up with that.

Notice this comment ont he link I just posted:

I'm the Chair of the Board of Ed at St. Therese parish in Southgate, KY. We've been a stewardship parish for more years than I know! Children of "active parishioners" don't pay tuition. All parishioners are asked to contribute a certain amount each week in the collection.

It works because the entire parish supports it, particularly grandparents who sent their own children there and want to make sure the next generation gets the same Catholic education.I will say that there is the potential for abuse. We aren't allowed (nor are we necessarily interested in) to contact those who are not contributing. Most give either the recommended amount, or what they are able to. There are a small few who take advantage, but it's an exception.One of the Cincinnati schools just met with our principal because they're considering doing the same. I can say that if we charged what some of the other schools in the area do, my kids would either be home- or public-schooled. It's out of reach, especially for a large family.

Now how many of these Kids are Catholic in D.C of course is a good question. However I suspect thinking outside the box and also perhaps looking to places like Arlington right next door (for a little help) a solution could be found!!

I never forget a Priest telling me in Chicago telling me that African Americans largely became Catholic because of the Catholic Schools. Many did not have to pay a lot of money and the only requirement in some schools was that the parents attend classesto hear what Religious education their children got Again thinking outside the box


Anonymous said...

Amen, James. I responded to your post over at Creative Minority Report. I described what a Catholic family in our diocese has to do to send a child to Catholic schools here. I may come across as a little bitter, but I am. I go to confession regularly to deal with it, but I must be pretty hardened LOL.

There are many days where I would love to have 10 minutes of peace because hubby and kids aren't needing me for something. My family homeschools because it is hard to justify paying $15,000 a year to send our three kids to school here when we can homeschool them for far less and get close to the same results. We have far many more grey hairs and have to make many sacrifices that those who don't have kids under foot 24/7 do, but between the secular craziness that abounds in public schools and the cost-prohibitive Catholic schools, we really feel we don't have much of a choice.

God bless.

James H said...


I thought your post amdeqa lot of sense and what you are talking about is troublesome.

I know we don';t have the priest and nuns to give the "free Labor" practically we had in the old days.

However these has been mitigated or really made a big non factor I think in that Catholic's income has risen.

It hink thsi is one reason why we see What is happening in Kansas being such a success

I find it ironic that DC being in the heart of Historic American Catholicism cannot do what Kansas does.

Again, I don't know why we don't repeat models that are working elsewhere.

I shall your concerns about Blue Collar kids and it needs to be handled

Anonymous said...

"I find it ironic that DC being in the heart of Historic American Catholicism cannot do what Kansas does."

I don't understand it either. Again, I think there is not the will to do it. I notice a lot of priests/Catholic commentators scratching their heads about why kids these days don't know their faith and why they're shacking up rather than committing to marriage and the like and to me part of the answer is that it is hard to support the majority of Catholic families in their responsibility to be the first teachers of their children when the kids get 1 hour of CCD per week when a small percentage of the population benefits from *35 hours* per week in a Catholic school. Not all Catholic schools are the same or teach an orthodox faith, but still you can't convince me that CCD is going to do all that much in forming kids in the faith. It just ain't the same.

Our diocese is a small southern diocese, but there are many dioceses that are about the same size and have more Catholic schools and who make it more of a priority to ensure that the people who truly desire a good Catholic education for their children will be supported by their local church without having to pass such draconian means testing as they do in this diocese.

Ah, to solve all the world's problems in 10 minutes...:). Have a good day.

Margaret in TN

RC2 said...

May someone from the Archdiocese of Washington offer some perspective? The priest who officiated at our wedding is pastor of one of the parishes with a school closing. It's really a demographics problem. There's a dwindling population in these particular parishes, so even if they were wealthy and not poor, it would be a challenge to run a school on tithes. Nor are they young parishes; basically none of the students attending these schools is Catholic, nor have the families involved any interest in preserving Catholic culture. They're just fleeing public schools.

The city has a voucher program, but it doesn't cover each student fully, so every non-paying student the Archdiocese accepts costs it something like $2000. The schools have been running a $10 million/year deficit for years now basically as a service to the city, because they aren't serving the Catholic populace of DC, and haven't been for quite some time (except in the general sense that any act of Christian service is a good; but surely we agree the Archbishop's first priority has to be his own flock?)

It's a heartbreak, but the Archbishop (and the pastors involved) finally decided it's not the best use of the Church's resources, and I can't fault the Archb. for his decision.

James H said...


I certaintly realize that it must be a huge strain and you so of answered my questions about Demographics. It just seems a shame that Catholic Schools that also serve as sort of a Evanglization that this has to happen.

Anonymous said...

Not knowing the proper etiquette, I hope I do not offend anyone if I repeat a comment I left over at Creative Minority Report.

This whole "7-school charter" might have been intended from the start to be a secret scheme to get a million dollars a year of DC public money to support 4 Catholic schools, by sacrificing 7 other schools, eliminating Catholic education from their curriculum in order to pay for Catholic education at 4 other schools.

The 7 schools might have the "same teachers, same kids, same environment," as Bishop Wuerl says, but they also have an obligation as DC public schools to teach kids that they have the option to have an abortion if they suffer an unwanted pregnancy. Thanks, Bishop!

But there is a LOT of rent money available to support Catholic schools that remain Catholic.

Because this was such a sensitive case, the DC Public Charter School Board should have been especially vigilant about any potential conflicts of interest.

This is a hurry-up charter, completed in 3-4 months instead of the usual 12-15 months. There is an obvious conflict of interest among the DC Public Charter Board, the group running the 7-school charter, and the archdiocese. The group running the charter is made up of the same people who ran these schools into the ground for the archdiocese--same executive director, Mary Ann Stanton. In December 2007 the archdiocese pretended to select this group to run the charter from among competing offers. Now this group, having won the "competition" to run the charter, had to turn around and negotiate with their old employers, the archdiocese, who "selected" them to run the charter, about the rent to be paid for the 7 parish school buildings.

The rental lease obligates the city to pay enough rent so that the 7 parishes can get half the rent money--and the other half goes to 4 parochial Catholic schools NOT part of the charter. That lease, which the DC Public Charter School Board approved in approving this hurry-up charter this month, in effect sets up a pipeline from DC taxpayers to 4 Catholic schools, to the tune of $1 million a year in taxpayer money to support Catholic schools that remain Catholic schools.

The DC Public Charter School Board failed to highlight this conflict of interest in having the charter school operator, beholden to the archdiocese, negotiating a lease with the archdiocese for rental of the 7 school buildings. An objective third party should have stepped in to review the lease.

The archdiocese makes no bones about the fact half the rent money paid for these 7 schools goes to support 4 Catholic schools that remain parochial Catholic schools. (The archdiocese told a newspaper, "We can do what we want with rent money." See: ). Hmmmmm, there might be a lot of excess rent being paid for the 7 school buildings. An independent, objective third party could have investigated that, BEFORE the DC Public Charter School Board approved the charter and the underlying lease.

Let's see something done about investigating this conflict of interest, these excessive rent payments, and the unconstitutional public support for Catholic Schools imbedded in this deal.