Cleansing Fire

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Attendance at Rochester Catholic Schools Continues its Downward Spiral

August 24th, 2009, Promulgated by Dr. K

The following chart (slightly modified to include more information) was a part of the Democrat & Chronicle‘s fluff piece on the state of local Catholic schools printed in this morning’s paper. This chart tells the tale of what has happened to Catholic elementary schools in Rochester under the leadership of Bishop Matthew Clark, especially over the past decade.

Enrollment in DoR Catholic elementary schools by year
Year: amount (+/- from previous)
1997-98: 8,870
1998-99: 8,641 (-229)
1999-00: 8,531 (-110)
2000-01: 8,325 (-206)
2001-02: 7,868 (-457) <-- Sr. Elizabeth Meegan takes over as superintendent.
2002-03
: 7,469 (-399)
2003-04: 6,857 (-612)
2004-05: 6,355 (-502)
2005-06: 5,868 (-487)
2006-07: 5,325 (-543)
2007-08: 4,883 (-442) <-- 13 schools closed and Anne Willkens Leach named superintendent at the end of this school year.
2008-09
: 3,722 (-1,161)
2009-10 (as of Aug. 12):
3,371 (-351 as of now) <-- The DoR hoped to have 3,700 students enrolled for this school year, see post at DoR Catholic.

Total drop in attendance since the ’97-98 school year: 5,499

Catholic education has long been neglected by Bishop Clark. Rather than diverting DoR funds to destroy Sacred Heart Cathedral, this money could have been used to strengthen Catholic education and make it more affordable for more families. We are seeing the fruits of the diocese’s lack of effort and several instances of mismanagement.

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7 Responses to “Attendance at Rochester Catholic Schools Continues its Downward Spiral”

  1. avatar Anonymous says:

    '99-'00 was actually a "good" year, we only lost 110 pupils.

    We need a shepherd in Rochester who will make Catholic education, and catechesis, an important priority.

  2. avatar Anonymous says:

    The numbers tell the story.

  3. avatar Rob says:

    I wish the DoR would put more effort into promoting Catholic education. It also didn't help that they turned away students and didn't promote new sign ups last year after the school consolidation. Nobody should be turned away from a Catholic education, not one person.

  4. avatar Mr. B says:

    Match up these numbers againt the decline in mass atendance. I'll bet that they mirror each other.

    God Bless.

  5. avatar Anonymous says:

    All of the blame for the Catholic School closings has to go to Bishop Clark. He has closed 50 schools against the will of the parishioners in the last 30 years.

    Last year, 3 Catholic schools each raised $300,000 in a few weeks, to save their schools. Bishop Clark turned them down and still closed the schools.

    What a terrible legacy this man is going to leave behind in the Diocese of Rochester. It is very sad that he will go down in history as the Bishop who destroyed the Diocese of Rochester.

  6. avatar Anonymous says:

    Bishop Clark's legacy may be that he united and mobilized the orthodox, and helped several young orthodox men answer or move towards answering the call to the priesthood.

  7. avatar Mr. B says:

    He hasn't destroyed us – far from it!

    He only succeeded in making us sronger just like removng the slag rom steel in the smelting process.

    As for the "slag" (lapsed catholics) we must always invite them to come back.

    God is the ultimate recycler – I'm living proof!

    God Bless.

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