3239 Policy

 Diocesan Board of Education
Diocese of Belleville

Policy 3239

BUSINESS AND NON-INSTRUCTIONAL OPERATIONS

Funding Catholic Elementary Schools

Catholic schools in the Diocese of Belleville have an excellent tradition of developing the whole person through spiritual and academic formation based on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The mission of Catholic schools provides a particular environment for the New Evangelization by presenting the Gospel anew within the school and parish communities. Therefore, it is imperative that all Catholic schools in the Diocese of Belleville actively address the challenges confronting their schools and parishes and develop plans to continue the tradition and work of Catholic Education in a meaningful and thoughtful manner.

In light of the Pastoral  Plan for Parish Renewal and Restructuring, Catholic elementary schools in the Diocese of Belleville must address the following:

  1. FINANCES:  Parish financial support obligations for Catholic Elementary Schools shall continue for the 2013-2014 school year.  However, parishes with Catholic elementary schools shall develop plans to insure that the schools receive no more than 40% of the parish’s income in future years.
  2. ENROLLMENT:   Parishes with Catholic elementary schools that have experienced declines of 10% or more in enrollment during the past seven years and reside within 8 miles of a neighboring Catholic parish elementary school shall engage in conversations with the nearby school (s) and explore alternative restructuring in order to share the resources of their parishes and schools.
  3. STEWARDSHIP:   Where there are more than two schools in an area, these schools shall develop drafts of plans that will allow for improved stewardship for their schools and parishes.  In most instances, the model of one parish maintaining a stand alone Catholic school will probably not be viable in the future.
  4. ALL SCHOOLS:   Schools shall attempt to achieve diocesan standards regarding finances, enrollment and stewardship by the start of the 2014-2015 school year. These standards include appropriate cost per pupil expenses and reasonable student teacher ratios. It is also essential that all Catholic elementary schools in the Diocese continue to meet at least the minimum salary guidelines set by Diocesan Policy for all lay teacher salaries. All Schools are to report to the Office of the Vicar General and the Office of Education when they are unable to fully implement these directives and request an exemption.

**While many Catholic Elementary schools also provide pre-school programs, the pre-school students are not included in determining the minimum enrollment number to maintain a viable Catholic Elementary school.  The development of pre-school programs connected with a Catholic Elementary school has helped encourage many potential students to enroll in Catholic elementary schools.   At this time, however, there is not a reliable statistical finding to suggest that most if not all of the pre-school students will enroll in a school’s kindergarten program to provide a reliable long-term enrollment projection for a Catholic elementary school.  It is also important to state that all pre-school programs are to be cost efficient and have balanced budgets.

Adopted:                      March 18, 2014


The Most Reverend Edward K. Braxton

Bishop of Belleville

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