March 30, 2005

Urban Catholic Schools Excel Academically, Struggle Financially

The Heartland Institute

Written By: Brian L. Carpenter
Published In: School Reform News
Publication Date: April 1, 2005
Publisher: The Heartland Institute

Like urban public schools across America, urban Catholic schools--especially in the Midwest and Northeast--are buckling under financial pressure. With expenses up and enrollments down, Catholic leaders often have no choice but to merge schools or shutter them altogether.

A report published in April 2004 by Sister Dale McDonald for theAbuse Tracker Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) indicates that during the 2003-04 school year, 123 Catholic schools nationwide were "consolidated or closed."

In February, the Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago announced plans to close 23 elementary schools. Dozens more are slated to close in other cities.

But in contrast to their public school counterparts, research shows Catholic schools--even those predominantly serving poor, minority students--are often academically successful. ...

Added to these problems are shrinking charitable contributions to the church and parish closings. Catholic officials attribute these to a host of problems including financial losses from recent attention to past priest sexual abuse, economic conditions, and a shortage of priests entering the vocation. Ultimately, fewer parishes means less parish financial support for schools.

Posted by kshaw at March 30, 2005 07:04 AM