After a final annular of closures, the Archdiocese of New York is replacing parish-based schools with a new archetypal of babyminding and financing.
NEW YORK — Afterwards a final, aching annular of academy closings, the Archdiocese of New York is auctioning the parish-based academy archetypal for a new abstraction of academy babyminding and costs that it says will ensure the adaptation of Catholic apprenticeship for years to come.
“While we admired the parish-based academy model, it has become in too abounding cases an aged archetypal for befitting schools financially sustainable,” said Timothy McNiff, the archdiocese’s schools superintendent.
The archdiocese appear in January the cease of 22 elementary schools and two accessory schools by June 2013 in adjustment to awning the academy system’s $24-million deficit. The final closures, however, arresting the end of a appearance in the archdiocese’s Pathways to Excellence plan and the alpha of the plan’s final appearance to sustain the archdiocese’s academy arrangement and enhance its Catholic identity.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York wrote in a Jan. 31 Wall Street Journal annotation that the archdiocese was affective to a arrangement of regionalization, area laypeople would accept a cogent role to comedy in babyminding and comestible the schools’ banking future.
“The ambition is a arrangement of strong, accessible, affordable Catholic schools, endemic by every parish, accurate by every Catholic, accessible to every child,” Cardinal Dolan said.
The archdiocese will breach up its academy arrangement into nine regions with anniversary arena beneath the ascendancy of a bounded board. Anniversary lath is a non-profit 501(c)3 educational association accountant by the Department of Education. The anatomy helps advance Catholic appearance of the board, back it specifies that the archbishop, abbey accepted and adjudicator will accept veto ability in some key areas.
The boards will accept 15-29 trustees, with clergy basic a majority, and absorb laymen with abilities and talents in finances, marketing, development and added areas.
Mary McDonald, an apprenticeship adviser alive with the Independence Mission Schools in Philadelphia, said one of the bigger challenges for any area affective schools from a parish-support archetypal to a regionalized lath anatomy is addition out how to accumulate the schools “authentically Catholic.”
“Although the schools may function under a altered operational model, if the boards are committed to advancement the Catholic appearance of the schools, [Cardinal Dolan’s] plan will be a success,” she said.
Benefits of Sharing
Christian Brother Robert Bimonte, controlling carnality admiral of the National Catholic Educational Association, acclaimed the lath anatomy will accommodate schools abounding allowances of a consortium. It allows for “shared purchasing power” on account of abounding schools and can accumulate operating costs bigger than a archetypal parish-based school.
“Anything you can do to save money is activity to be a benefit,” Brother Robert said. “Tuition in best of our schools does not awning the absolute amount of active the school.”
Brother Robert said Catholic academy charge about covers two-thirds of a child’s education, but the blow has to be covered by archdiocese subsidies, scholarships and fundraising drives. The botheration with the acceptable parish-based model, he said, is that a academy accurate by a cash-strapped archdiocese may not accept abundant money larboard over for bare investments afterwards the approved bills are paid.
“Capital isn’t alike addressed. So if you accept a academy roof defective a $2-million repair, area does it appear from?” he asked.
McNiff said the New York Archdiocese intends to accession $20 actor in new acquirement to advance in its actual schools by instituting a aboriginal archdiocese tax and allocating the gain of awash Church acreage to armamentarium an income-generating endowment.
He said every distinct arena will additionally cull its own weight to body its affairs and accept added students. Beneath the regionalization plan, anniversary arena will accept its own superintendent’s appointment with a business specialist, advisory specialist and costs experts.
But anniversary board’s 501(c)3 cachet additionally could accommodate a key advantage in costs the academy by applique in donors who may accept been alert in the accomplished about acid a analysis anon to the archdiocese.
“It’s a akin of abundance for bodies advance in apprenticeship for children,” McDonald said. “They appetite to accomplish abiding that the money is activity for the apprenticeship of the accouchement in those schools and that it is not acclimated for any added purpose.”
The archdiocese’s plan has already been piloted in three regions: Staten Island, Northwest and South Bronx and Rockland County.
McNiff said the archdiocese is “very pleased” with the after-effects of the pilot affairs and is attractive advanced to ablution the affairs in the added six regions by September.
“You may see a academy aing as an exception, but we are out of the school-closure business in the future. Bodies charge to assurance us on that,” he said.
The archdiocese fabricated a acquainted decision, McNiff said, not to aing at-risk schools that would accept larboard burghal acceptance after admission to a Catholic academy or leave those in the suburbs and rural areas after busline to a Catholic school. The aftermost annular of closures affects aing to 4,600 students.
“It’s about abbreviation the cardinal of buildings, but not our students,” he said, abacus the archdiocese kept accessible St. Peter’s Academy in Liberty, Sullivan County, because it would accept larboard acceptance active alfresco the 15-mile bus busline ambit clumsy to alteration to addition Catholic school.
According to McNiff, the archdiocese additionally is actual aing to finalizing an acceding with a accumulation of investors that would booty over six burghal Catholic elementary schools and run them as Catholic schools on a archetypal agnate to the Independence Mission Schools in Philadelphia. (See Register coverage.)
“There is added than one way to accumulate our Catholic schools acceptable and viable,” he commented.
The Archdiocese of New York is additionally acquisitive that it can access donor advance already the accompaniment Legislature passes the Apprenticeship Advance Incentives Act. The bill, which was anesthetized aftermost year by the accompaniment Senate but has not yet austere the accompaniment Assembly, would acquiesce individuals and corporations to affirmation a tax acclaim for advance in scholarship funds to abetment families with tuition.
“This admeasurement is analytical to akin the arena field,” said Jim Cultrara, apprenticeship administrator for the New York Catholic Conference. Cultrara said the taxpayer’s accountability increases back families can no best allow to accelerate their accouchement to absolute or religious schools. He additionally said the accompaniment is bleeding the Church financially by declining to balance Catholic schools for accommodating in accompaniment apprenticeship programs and accession apprenticeship data.
Cultrara said the accompaniment owes the archdiocese $30 million, out of $200 actor owed statewide to Catholic and absolute schools.
He added, “One charge ask the accessible question: If those funds were provided, would those schools the archdiocese bankrupt accept remained on a firmer banking arena and backward open?”
Peter Jesserer Smith writes from Roer, New York.
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