National Catholic Reporter

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Converting Catholic Schools to Secular Charter Schools

 |  NCR Today

Patterson Catholic High School in the Patterson, NJ diocese is shuttering its doors, like many diocesan-owned and operated schools. Now the diocese wants to convert the Catholic school into a secular charter school funded by state tax payers. The diocese gets government money for leasing the space to the government and the government gets immediately available space for overcrowding classrooms. Patterson Catholic gets a new birth certificate as a government-approved secular charter school. One local editorial supports the plan.

The obvious fact for Catholic schools is this: Well-funded, private Catholic schools (non-diocesan schools) thrive. Diocesan-owned and operated schools are going the way of the typewriter. It's inevitable despite well-meaning episcopal pronouncements to the contrary. The government funding of government schools (safeguarded by the politically powerful teachers unions) and the simultaneous systemic impotency of the voucher movement are like teutonic plates crushing diocesan-owned and operated Catholic schools. Inner city Catholic schools are a potential catastrophic financial weight on an entire diocesan enterprise, including, e.g., by not adequately contributing to the lay pension funds.

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Seriously, only a bona fide miracle can save diocesan-owned and operated Catholic schools.

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