It is always a sad day when a Catholic school closes. All over the country, Catholic schools are struggling to keep their doors open because of rising cost and changing demographics in many neighborhoods. Recently, the New York Times told the story of the Catholic school once attended by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sontamayor. Her alma mater is closing as are hundred of other Catholic schools especially in big cities.
Here in Tulsa, we are not immune from this issue. We have several elementary schools that are financially struggling to keep the doors open. From the perspective of Bishop Kelley High School, we need these partner schools to not only provide students but also to carry out the mission of the school. Many of these schools educate families that cannot afford tuition. Bishop Kelley was founded to provide a Catholic education to all students, regardless of their income.
I believe there are two major solutions to the issue of struggling Catholic schools:
1) PARENTAL CHOICE- What if every family with school age children was given a voucher for $5000 to use as they see fit for their child’s education? What if the cost of private school tuition were tax deductible? What if every parent, regardless of their income, was able to choose the best school for their child? This would be a huge boost for our Catholic schools.
2) Raise more money for tuition assistance and especially endowments for our schools.Bishop Kelley’s endowment is around $6,000,000 but it should be 3x that. We must do more to ensure the financial future of our schools.