Wednesday, January 13, 2010

4 MCCS schools to be semi-independent

Nikki Rudd at News 10NBC is reporting that St. Lawrence School in Greece and three east side schools may soon become parish schools once again.

Well, sort of.

While it will retain control over curriculum and staff hiring and firing matters, the diocese will turn over the financial end of the operation to the schools and their parishes.

The most obvious effect of this arrangement will be a substantial savings to the MCCS' strained budget, as it will no longer be paying these parishes hundreds of thousands of dollars to rent their buildings.  How the parishes would deal with this loss of income is unclear at present.

The effects on other financial issues, such as the financial aid currently provided by the diocese, are also unclear.

While the identities of the three east side schools were not mentioned by Rudd, Dr. K. over at Cleansing Fire reports they are St. Rita (Webster), St. Louis (Pittsford) and St. Joseph (Penfield).

The change-over apparently will not be immediate.  At the end of her on-air piece Rudd says, "The superintendent tells me it will be a seamless transition and she says it might not happen for another year or two."

Part of the original Task Force recommendation

Since DOR's education task force made its report to the bishop two years ago the details of its recommendations have been a closely guarded secret.  Now one of those secrets has been made public.

Rudd reports,

It was also a recommendation by the task force to have parishes run their own schools instead of the Diocese. This is how Catholic schools were run for more than 100 years.

This confirms something many of us have suspected for some time. While the bishop would have us believe that he had no choice but to close 13 Catholic schools two years ago, we now know that his own task force thought there were other viable options - options which included allowing parishes to run their own schools.

MCCS: A record of failure

It appears that the bishop thought his own MCCS people were still the best choice for running our Catholic schools, in spite of their abysmal track record.

For instance, DOR assumed control of all Monroe County Catholic schools at the beginning of the 1988-89 school year.  At that time it had a system of 39 schools and was serving some 16,000 students.  Today, a mere 21 years later, the MCCS System has shrunk to 11 schools educating maybe 3,500 children (2009-10 registration data has yet to be released).

Furthermore, in the 10 years ending with the 2007-08 academic year DOR lost 39.4% of its Catholic school  students, the second worst showing among the 37 dioceses with comparable (+/- 25%) 1997-98 enrollments. (Data here.)

If this isn't a record of failure I don't know what one looks like.


Anonymous said...

Not independent enough! If the parish is financially responsible they should also control staff and curriculum.

Matt said...

Note my post on the matter as to why i think this could be a good thing (diocesan control)

recall that (at least 3 of) these parishes aren't known for their orthodoxy, and who knows what would be taught and who would be hired. Furthermore, our next bishop will need to jump through fewer hoops to gain control and rein in abuse.