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SCHOOL MATTERS - Funding Norwalk Catholic School a complicated process

Norwalk Reflector Staff • Oct 28, 2015 at 3:46 PM

Project Leadership held one of its meetings at Norwalk Catholic School in the new St. Paul High library. As part of the meeting, several area superintendents and I participated in a panel discussion concerning our schools. Many topics were covered. One of the most interesting to those attending was the financial difference between the parochial school and our public counterparts. I would like to use our time this week to elaborate on this topic.

As you know, Norwalk Catholic School is financially supported much differently than a public school. Our public schools are financed primarily by tax dollars. Norwalk Catholic School relies on many sources for its financial support; tuition, contributions from the member parishes and a student's home parish, public and private foundation grants, state funding appropriated for services our teachers are required by law to perform and for other essentials, development efforts (FCEDO), and various fundraisers. These sources together provide the funds needed to educate a student in the Norwalk Catholic School.

The most obvious difference in our funding structure is the tuition that our parents pay for their child to attend Norwalk Catholic School. Many years ago when Catholic schools had a large number of sisters, brothers, and priests teaching in our schools, we could afford to charge little or no tuition. This is not the case today. Tuition at Norwalk Catholic School ranges from $582 for 3 year olds to attend our Early Childhood Center to $2,710 for tuition at St. Paul High School. The tuition charged is different at the various grade levels and a non-participation tuition is charged to families who do not belong to our Catholic parishes. Parents sending their child to Norwalk Catholic School make a personal financial commitment to their child's education by paying tuition.

A Catholic school is an important ministry of the Catholic church. The Catholic church as a whole pledges support for Catholic education, knowing that this is the best way to create Christian servants who will make a difference in our world. For this reason, individual parishes make a major commitment to Catholic education. Norwalk Catholic School receives a large portion of its budget from contributing parishes, mainly Norwalk St. Paul and St. Mary, and Milan St. Anthony and also support from area parishes whose students attend Norwalk Catholic School.

As a school, we receive funds from the state of Ohio for services required to be performed by our teaching staff. Essential items such as textbooks, technology needs and bus transportation are also partially funded by the state. Support staff to help in the area of guidance, tutoring, and clerical help as permitted by Ohio law also is covered. In addition, we rely on public and private foundation grants which are applied for each year.

Our development efforts also make a major contribution to the budget. The Firelands Catholic Education Development Office is responsible for public relations, marketing, and fund raising for our schools. Norwalk Catholic School also relies on various fundraisers; student sales, our annual auction (Spring Fling), bingo, and our annual fund drive to meet the needs of our budget. These efforts provide an opportunity for everyone to support our fine school system.

Funding our school is a complicated process. It takes the dedication and commitment of all; parents, parishioners, students, alumi, friends, community members, anyone and everyone concerned about the education of our young people. Norwalk Catholic School is blessed by and extremely grateful for the participation of all.

Walter Klimaski is president of Norwalk Catholic School.

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