Parish and School Finances: Living Beyond Our Means
Many parishes have been living beyond their means:
• In fiscal year (FY) 2006 cash to debt ratio was 0.7; meaning that for every dollar of debt, there was seventy cents of cash.
• Parish debt per registered parish household in 2006 was approximately $999.
• In FY 2009 there are 55 parishes being monitored by the Archdiocese because of debt and operational budget issues. In 2003, there were 33 parishes being monitored.
The distribution of debt and operating loss among parishes and schools is not evenly spread within the Archdiocese
• The financial condition of the Archdiocese as described existed prior to the current general economic downturn. The downturn exacerbated and exposed the existing problem.
• Very few individual parishes can comfortably support a Catholic school on their own.
• Parishes with Catholic school connection invest more in parish Faith Formation and other parish educational programs than those that do not have a Catholic school connection.
A Vibrant Catholic Education is Increasingly a Challenge to Grow and Maintain
Faith Formation enrollments have continued to decline
• The number of children reported as enrolled in parish Faith Formation programs in the 2004-2005 school year was 52,451. In 2008-09 it is reported as 47,523.
• There continues to be a precipitous drop in parish religious education enrollment between grades 10-11. In the 2008-09 school year the enrollment in grade 9 was 3,881, in grade 10 it was 3,253 and grade 11 it was 297. The number of children in NO Catholic formation program is increasing
• According to baptismal records, there were 82,948 infants baptized between 1993 through 1999. In 2004-05 most of these children should have been enrolled in Kindergarten through Grace 6 programs. Roughly 38% of those baptized between 1993 and 1999 are not served by any religious education program or Catholic school in the Archdiocese during this year of 2008-09.
• In 2008-09 most of these same (baptized 1993-1999) children should have been enrolled in Grades 4 through 10. Roughly 41% of the same group was not served by any religious education program in the Archdiocese during this year.
• The peaks of enrollment in parish Faith Formation programs align with First Communion and Confirmation.
• Parishes reported approximately 6,700 catechists in 2004-05 and approximately 6,300 catechists in 2008-09.
• In 2008-09 two thirds of parishes reported offering some form of adult Faith Formation. A wide variety of offerings were reported with bible studies and season retreats (Advent and Lent) being the most frequently
Catholic Schools Have Been Constantly Changing
The number of Catholic schools has changed
• There are 93 Catholic elementary schools and 14 Catholic high schools in the Archdiocese
• 122 parishes sponsor either single parish or consolidated schools.
• 10 schools are sponsored by more than one parish.
• 8 Catholic schools have opened since 2000: 4 elementary schools, 1 middle school and 2 high schools.
• 4 elementary schools have closed and 2 multi-parish schools have deconsolidated since 2000.
Enrollment in Catholic schools has changed
• In 2003-04 enrollment in Catholic Schools in the Archdiocese was 38,186. In 2008-09 enrollment was only 5% less, at 35,335. This is consistent with changes in public school district enrollment change, and accurately reflects changes to the age structure of the population in the Twin Cities area.
Distribution of growth and decline in enrollments is uneven
• Catholic high schools have increased enrollment in the last five years 5.4% from 7,420 to 7,820.
• Catholic elementary school enrollment in the last five years has declined 11.4% from 28,704 to 25,418.
• Catholic pre-school enrollment has fluctuated in the last five years, increasing over that time from 2,063 to 2,907.
• In the last five years 60 elementary schools lost 5% or more of their enrollment.
• In the last five years 32 elementary schools lost 20% or more of their enrollment.
• Growth in enrollment has been in new Catholic schools, schools targeted at niche populations and in suburban areas where there is significant population growth.
School personnel are largely not priests or religious
• 2.4% of school personnel are priests or religious.
• 97.6% of school personnel are lay people (not priests or religious).
Ethnic and socio-economic diversity is slowly increasing in Catholic Schools
• From 2004-09 Caucasians in Catholic elementary schools fell from 89.3% to 84.9% of the student enrollment.
• African-Americans were the fastest growing group, up from 1.8% to 3.8% of the elementary school student enrollment.
• Multi-racial students went from 2.0% to 3.6% of the enrollment.
• Latinos went from 3.2% to 4.6% of the elementary student enrollment.
• Students eligible to receive free and reduced priced lunch represented 6% of the enrollment five years ago and are 9% of the total elementary school enrollment today (Although the enrollment overall has decreased in that time period, the number of students eligible for free and reduced lunch has increased).
• The distribution of poverty among Catholic elementary school students is very biased toward core city and rural schools.
The Catholicity of students in the elementary school has been relatively stable
• The percentage of Catholic students in the elementary schools has decreased slightly in the last five years, from 92.7% to 91.8%.
School finance is increasingly problematic for parents and parishes
• Tuition has increased 36% since 2003-04. The average tuition has gone from $2,251 in 2003 to $3,063 in 2008 for the first child in parishsponsored Catholic elementary schools.
• Tuition for non-parishioners has increased 25% in give years from $3,175 to $3,975.
• 32% of parishes that subsidize schools contribute at least 30% or more of their total parish revenue to their school. This number increases when including parish underwriting of school deficits and pay for such costs as maintenance and utilities that are often not counted as subsidy.
The Archdiocesan Plan is scheduled to be completed in the Summer of 2010. See other posts on Stella Borealis relating to the Plan HERE.
Catholic Spirit articles on the Planning Process are HERE.
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