CINCINNATI - The Archdiocese of Cincinnati announced Tuesday a strategic plan to make Catholic education more affordable for parents after seeing a sharp drop in enrollment over the last decade.
Since 2000, enrollment dropped by more than 13,000 students. In addition, 22 schools have also closed or consolidated.
In response to the numbers, Archbishop Dennis Schnurr announced the results of a two-year strategic plan during a press conference at St. Vivian Elementary School in Finneytown. The plan is called " Lighting the Way ."
"There are approximately 200 dioceses in the United States. We are the 38th largest but we have the 7th largest school system. It shows our commitment that this archdiocese has to our Catholic schools," said Reverend Schnurr.
The plan calls for a number of ways to make Catholic schools more affordable.
"We are launching the first ever Archdiocesan needs based tuition assistance scholarship we expect to be available to schools in the next three years. We will be seeding this with re-allocation of $3.5 million of our own internal funds as well as a capital campaign that will launch in a couple of years," said Dr. Jim Rigg, Superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.
The Archdiocese will hold a public presentation of the new plan on Wednesday, Aug. 15. at McCauley High School in College Hill from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.
"Catholic Schools truly make a difference. No matter what your background. We have a proven record of success for preparing young people to give back to their communities and to succeed in leadership positions and to really reflect the Christian identity of our schools," said Dr. Rigg.
Highlights of the vision, which was also introduced by Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Binzer at an afternoon news conference at Bishop Leibold School, East Campus, in Dayton, include:
• A renewal of the evangelizing mission of Catholic schools. The Archdiocese will be introducing new systems and processes to ensure that the Catholic identity of our schools remains the top priority, and that our students, of all faiths, are prepared to courageously do good works in the modern world.
• The introduction of high quality curriculum standards, alongside research-based educator evaluation systems, to drive strong student growth and achievement.
• An emphasis on serving all types of learners in our Catholic schools, including those from underprivileged populations, and those with defined special learning needs.
• The fostering of a culture of strategic and continual professional development for educators, bolstered by new systems of accountability, to ensure that our students receive the best possible religious and academic education.
• The formation of an Archdiocesan student recruitment plan to strategically target populations not swerved by our Catholic schools.
• The study of areas of potential new growth for Catholic school education.