Holy Family is not meeting costs

Published 12:40 am Tuesday, April 29, 2008

On April 5, The Natchez Democrat published an article titled “PTA presents budget.” The article addressed the situation at Holy Family Catholic School. In the article there were several misleading statements and much misinformation concerning the situation.

Because of this the Diocese of Jackson would like to present the following facts in order to clarify that misinformation. Since, no representative of the Diocese of Jackson was asked for specific comments in response to the comments in the article for inclusion in that article; the diocese was unaware of the specific comments made in the article at the time of its printing and therefore unable to comment. We apologize for any confusion caused by the article.

1. To date, no budget or budgets have been presented to the superintendent of Catholic schools or to the Diocese of Jackson. On April 10, Mrs. Rosa Demby and the superintendent of schools began preliminary work on the budget for the pre-school and kindergarten for the 2008-2009 school year.

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2. Budgets are normally prepared by the School Advisory Council and recommended to the pastor of Holy Family Church for approval. Holy Family School has not had an active School Advisory Council for more than a year and a half.

3. Only school/preschool budgets approved by the pastor of the sponsoring Catholic church/parish are submitted to the Office of Catholic Schools and the Diocese of Jackson.

4. It is not the role of the PTA to prepare or present a school budget for Holy Family School.

5. Mr. Barney Schoby, president of the PTA and the only person interviewed for this article, is a parent of a pre-school student at Holy Family School. Mr. Schoby is not a member of Holy Family Church and therefore, cannot officially speak for Holy Family Catholic Church.

6. Many of Mr. Schoby’s remarks are inaccurate in regards to the Diocese of Jackson. Mr. Schoby has not spoken with any representative of the diocese.

7. Holy Family School was not founded as a “charitable” organization. Holy Family School is a ministry of the Catholic Church and a ministry of the Josephite Fathers, who staff Holy Family Parish.

8. Holy Family School was founded in a time in Mississippi when segregation was the law. It was founded so that black children would have the opportunity for a quality Catholic education even though they were not of the Catholic faith.

9. Tuition payment plans for Catholic schools and pre-schools in the diocese are set by the local parish/school level. The Diocese of Jackson did not require, as is stated in the article, that Holy Family parents pay their tuition in one payment prior to the beginning of the school year.

10. Holy Family School, contrary to this article, has never required parents to pay tuition in two payments — one in August and one in January. The pre-school/kindergarten tuition plan will be paid monthly as it has been paid in the past.

11. All Catholic schools and preschools are required to submit balanced budgets to the Diocese of Jackson. Administrators are expected to work within the limits of an annual budget and to finish each year “in the black.”

12. The Diocese of Jackson has never told Holy Family School that it only needed to be “in the black” for five years.

13. A Catholic school’s major source of income is tuition. When enrollment declines, the school’s major source of income also decreases.

14. If a school/preschool’s tuition income is not sufficient to meet its operational costs, the Catholic schools/preschool, unlike other government sponsored educational institutions, is not able to sustain itself without assistance from the sponsoring Catholic parish.

15. Holy Family School (Pre-K – grade 4) will not be able to meet operational costs for the 2007-2008 school year. This continues a pattern that began more than a decade ago.

16. To date, there are 47 preschool students and 27 kindergarten students registered for the 2008-2009 school year for Holy Family pre-school and kindergarten.

17. This registration for the ’08-’09 school year will continue.

Sr. Deborah Hughes, SSJ

superintendent of schools, Diocese of Jackson