PRAYER INTENTIONS OF THE HOLY FATHER ENTRUSTED TO THE APOSTLESHIP OF PRAYER FOR THE YEAR 2015
That those from diverse religious traditions and all people of good will may work together for peace.
Evangelization: Consecrated life
That in this year dedicated to consecrated life, religious men and women may rediscover the joy of following Christ and strive to serve the poor with zeal.
From the Vatican, January 3, 2014 Benedictus PP XVI
FROM THE PASTOR’S DESK
It is with my deepest regret that I must inform you that Christ the King School will not re-open for the 2015-16 school year. This very difficult decision to close our parish school was made in consultation with Christ the Redeemer Parish’s Finance and Pastoral Councils, the School Advisory Committee and the Office of Schools at the Diocese and has been accepted by Bishop Bootkoski. Following is an explanation as to why this decision was made.
Right now, we are in a serious deficit and the parish cannot afford to undertake additional debt to keep the school open. There are several contributing factors to the school’s closing, most notable, low student enrollment, which is the lowest it has been in the past ten years. Today, we have 125 students attending our school. This is about half the students needed to make the school viable, with student tuition covering only half of our operating costs. In reality, to be considered financially healthy, the school would need at least a bare minimum of 200 enrolled students. Only then would we be able to cover our school’s operating expenses without financially draining – and threatening the very existence of – the parish.
Last year alone, we spend $277,000 and we project that we will spend at least another $295,000 for the current academic year, assuming that there are no additional unforeseen expenses. This comes to over a half million dollars in the past two years alone. Further subsidizing the school would place an enormous burden on our small parish.
Right now we have only one classroom per grade even though we can accommodate two classes per grade. Each class has fewer than 20 students – and our smallest class, seventh grade, has only six students. The exception to this is our pre-K, which has 24 students. There was a time in our school’s history when the classrooms were filled…a time when we had 350 students…nearly three times the number we have today. But that was long ago.
Another contributing factor affecting student enrollment is the effects of a slowed economy:
• A downturn in the economy has brought about increased financial hardships for many parishioners, making is difficult for them to afford tuition.
• As a result, there are fewer families with young children attending the parish school. More young families are choosing public education over private schools.
• Currently, less than one-third of enrolled students at Christ the King School are parishioners, while 187 students who attend other local schools are enrolled in the parish’s religious education program.
A change in demographics over the last 10 years may have also played a part in the enrollment decline.
• Many of our active parishioners are older and are not being equally replaced by younger parishioners. For instance, there have been 15 baptisms at the parish this past year compared to 61 parishioner deaths.
• Our community has seen a population decrease. Some residents are moving out of the borough due to the flood problems that have plagued the community.
These are just some of the factors that we believe have contributed to low enrollment over the past ten years.
Over the years, as a school community, we have worked together diligently to keep Catholic education affordable for families and to meet our school’s overhead expenses. For example, we have tried to:
• minimize annual tuition increases and school expenses,
• introduce new fundraising strategies to help offset operating expenses,
• implement new programs to encourage more parental involvement, and
• employ various marketing strategies to attract new students.
Still, we have been unable to attract and sustain the number of students needed to cover our expenses.
Knowing the challenges the school has faced ... read more