The students and parents of Scott County’s Catholic schools might not immediately notice, but changes two years in the making will be rolled out over the next two to three years.
For two years, the nine parishes supporting the five Catholic schools — Assumption High School, St. Paul the Apostle, John F. Kennedy, Our Lady of Lourdes and All Saints — have been working with the Meitler Consulting Group and the conclusion is to move toward a regionalized Catholic school system that better shares resources and streamlines things like communications, marketing and development.
“In terms of our individual schools, they’re probably not going to see a big difference,” said Andy Craig, president of Assumption High School and co-chair to lead the changes. “We’re still going to have all the schools we have now, and they’re still going to provide a great Catholic education. This is to take care of things we need to take care of.”
The overall effect will likely be similar to establishing a central administrative office, like public school districts have. Instead of individual churches feeding into, supporting and governing a particular school — as in the traditional parish model — the parishes maintain close relationships with individual schools, but will support all the schools.
Rosie Barton, president of the Scott County Catholic Schools Foundation and the other co-chair, said schools might share facilities, programming and staff, though the plan itself was just starting to be parsed out.
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“We want to utilize all of our existing resources and employees to the best position possible,” she said.
Craig said they were approaching the changes from an “area of strength,” citing the coordinated tuition assistance program that’s been in place since 2003 and the cooperation among the schools as it is. The plan also calls to make tuition more standardized between schools.
“This has been more grassroots than top-down,” Barton said, adding that staff and employees were consulted. “We’re trying to be as open and transparent as possible.”
In a 2019 executive summary report for the Scott County Catholic Schools strategy, elementary enrollment was noted as a challenge, as it was declining in recent years. Still, the report, asserted, enrollment in Catholic schools was “relatively stable.” Part of the new plan includes an enrollment management programming focused on marketing and branding schools.
“The progress we’ve made is exciting,” Craig said. “What’s also exciting is the future. We have an opportunity to grow in strength."