Thursday, February 25, 2010


There are few things on the minds of pastors of parishes with schools like the state of Catholic education. Increasing costs, dramatic cuts in state funding coupled with (ever) increasing mandated services by the same state, the demand for increasing technology and parents resources becoming tighter has us all tense to say the least.

In the United States 1,429 Catholics schools closed since 2000 (increasing the cost to educate the children by the state dramatically.) The good news is that 405 new schools opened.

The population of the United States grew 9% last year but the population in the eight counties of the Diocese of Cleveland dropped 2.1%. This means that there are also fewer children in need of education.

Saint Sebastian School is fortunate in that it, for one reason or another, is in a situation that allows it to remain stronger than most of our other Catholic schools. But in these times that edge must be nurtured and protected vigilantly.

The Diocese of Cleveland is the 6th largest Catholic school system in the nation though the diocese itself is the 11th largest diocese. There are 131 schools, 109 of them being elementary schools and 22 being high schools. Enrollment for this year is 50,681. This marks a 4.2% drop from the previous year. In the entire Great Lakes region there has been a 27% drop in enrollment over the past 10 years. Because of this the diocese has closed 41 schools and opened 9 new ones. Some of the new schools are merged schools or schools that have opened where young Catholics are moving.

Gone are the days when you opened your doors and people flocked to your school. We have to work harder, wiser, and not be afraid (or negligent) in promoting ourselves and that is what we are doing. These are rough times and rough times require a strong, creative, and bold response. May the case be that in 50 years people will look back upon these days and wonder at our fortitude and innovation in difficult times which saved Catholic education and preserved it for their children.


Anonymous said...

The last paragraph is very powerful and very true.

Cracked Pot said...

Father, I'm glad you pointed out that when a Catholic school closes, the cost to educate that child must now be borne by the public schools.

Anonymous said...

It seems that all the parishes have to support Catholic education, even the ones that don't have schools. The support has to be more than the school tax they pay (that being the difference between the assessment rate for schools with vs. without schools) but to show other ways of supporting Catholic schools as well.