Reporting Gigi Barnett
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore’s Catholic schools are making a turnaround after years of struggling to boost enrollment.
Gigi Barnett explains the announcement comes at a time when Catholic schools begin a week of celebrations.
Three years ago, the Baltimore Archdiocese shut down several Catholic schools. Enrollment was down and operating costs were up. The move set off a firestorm of protests and debate.
“I really looked forward to coming back here as an alumni and now I won’t have that,” said one student.
This week, Cardinal-designate Edwin O’Brien talked about the tough choices he made back then to strengthen Catholic schools today.
“I didn’t want to do it but I had to do it and I have no regrets in doing it. I just wish the circumstances were different,” he said.
O’Brien’s decision was the recommendation of a Blue Ribbon committee, and the Archdiocese says the plan to save the remaining Catholic schools is working. Enrollment has stabilized, and so has the budget. Catholic schools are now using new techniques to teach.
“It goes back to the faith and that they can celebrate that,” said parent Robyn McCormick.
Robyn and Eamon McCormick’s daughter Molly attends Immaculate Conception School in Towson. They wanted a combination of religion and education for Molly, as well as a close connection to their parish.
“The families that are sending their kids here, they just are very involved. We’ve developed great friendships,” Eamon McCormick said.
The Archdiocese kicks off its Catholic Schools Week on Monday. It’s a time when many parents enroll students in Catholic schools.