Catholic schools brace for possible losses in state aid
The celebration of the annual Catholic Schools? Week took on a somber tone this year amid plummeting enrollment numbers and rumors of diminishing state aid.
Father Joe Blenkle, of the Holy Name of Jesus School in Valhalla, says Gov. David Paterson plans to slash state aid by 12 percent this year and 19 percent next year, which amounts to almost 40 percent of his school?s budget.
?All that we do with fundraising, we'll have to do 40 percent more,? Blenkle says.
However, a spokesperson for the state says the only budget cuts to Catholic and private schools are for mandated services, which include administrative duties, not educational programs.
Parents like Laurie Stephens, of Elmsford, remain concerned.
?I feel the money would be well spent and put to good use in educating,? Stephens says.
Hundreds of parents, along with students, teachers and elected officials gathered at Archbishop Stepinac High School in White Plains Thursday night to figure out how to stop the possible cuts. Some parents say they?re being targeted for giving their children alternative educations.
County Leg. George Oros (R) says cutting Catholic school aid is not a good idea.
?If there's a mass exodus from the parochial school system flooding the public school system, it will just force the state to pump more money,? Oros says.
Parents hope the large turnout at Thursday's meeting in front of state officials will send a strong message to Albany.