MPNnow.com is reporting that the reregistration rate for Catholic school students displaced by the closure of 13 MCCS System schools has far exceeded that predicted by Bishop Clark's panel of "experts."
In January, Bishop Matthew Clark of the Diocese of Rochester announced the diocese would close 13 area Catholic schools in June, citing a sharp decline in enrollment and a significant budget shortfall. At the time of Clark’s announcement, diocese officials estimated that 48 percent of the students enrolled in the closing schools would enroll in other Catholic schools.
However, those figures appear to be drastically underestimated.
Doug Mandelaro, a spokesperson for the diocese, said 4,221 of the 4,884 displaced students — or 86 percent — have re-registered, far exceeding the retention goal. There are 376 openings available in the schools that are staying open, with 82 children on a waiting list for openings closer to their homes, Mandelaro said.
Another part of the story deals with class size at St. Joseph School in Penfield.
Right now, about 325 students are enrolled in the school. That number will jump by 122 to 447 in the fall, with 108 of those students coming from St. John’s of Rochester in Fairport.
St. Joseph’s currently has two classrooms for each grade, kindergarten through sixth, according to [Principal] Sister Christina Marie. The incoming students will be divvied up among those grades, making the average class size about 28.
“We could comfortably hold 30 per class,” she said.
As a result, no new classrooms will be added and new teaching staff will not be hired.
While Sister Christina Marie might feel comfortable with 30 children in each of her classrooms I know of no teachers - or parents - who would use the word 'comfortable' to describe their feelings about such a large class size.