Monroe County diocesan schools' re-enrollment figures exceed expectations - Catholic Courier

Monroe County diocesan schools’ re-enrollment figures exceed expectations

Nearly half of the 1,868 students displaced by the imminent closing of 13 diocesan-run Catholic schools in Monroe County have re-enrolled in the county’s 11 remaining schools for the 2008-09 school year.

In January Bishop Matthew H. Clark announced that a task force had recommended the closing of 13 schools at the end of the 2007-08 school year due to a number of factors, primarily declining enrollment and rising tuition and operating expenses.

More than 900 students — or 48.9 percent — of the displaced students had enrolled in the 11 remaining schools by March 19, the registration deadline for families with children already in the school system. An additional 214 displaced students registered at Catholic schools outside the Monroe County Catholic School system. These schools are St. Agnes in Avon; St. Mary in Canandaigua; St. Michael in Newark; McQuaid Jesuit, Aquinas Institute and Nazareth Hall in Rochester; Our Lady of Mercy in Brighton; and Bishop Kearney in Irondequoit, according to Doug Mandelaro, diocesan spokesman. That means that altogether, 60 percent of the displaced students will continue in Catholic education.

“The task force had recommended a 48-percent retention rate. That exceeds by a few figure points that rate. We’re very happy with those numbers,” Mandelaro said.

As of March 24, total registration at the 11 remaining diocesan-run Catholic schools in Monroe County totaled approximately 3,500 students. The schools will be able to accommodate that many students, Mandelaro noted.

Registering families were asked to indicate in order of preference the three schools in which they’d most like to enroll their children, Mandelaro said, and diocesan officials worked hard to try to accommodate parents’ wishes. “The vast majority got their first or second choice,” he said, noting that all but a handful of families were able to enroll their children in one of their three schools of choice.

“We have six or seven families that we are still working with who, for one reason or another, were put on waiting lists. We did have a couple cases where people did not indicate other choices,” he said.

Several families chose not to reregister their children within the system because the remaining schools were too far away for their children to receive bus transportation from their public-school districts.

“We did lose some families who did not feel that they could drive their kids to school,” Mandelaro said.

The registration period for families new to the Monroe County Catholic School System began March 25. Several hundred new families — especially those with children in kindergarten and pre-kindergarten — typically enter the system each year, Mandelaro said.

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