The Catholic Community Schools steering committee, appointed a year ago by Bishop Donald Kettler to design a consolidated system for Catholic schools in the St. Cloud metro area, has completed its work and submitted recommendations to the bishop to move ahead with the formation of CCS.
Bishop Kettler has taken the committee’s recommendations under advisement.
“I am grateful for the dedicated participation of the committee members and for their passion for Catholic schools,” he said. “The work of the group was well done, and I hope to move forward as soon as possible to establish Catholic Community Schools.”
Catholic schools are essential to the church’s evangelizing mission, Bishop Kettler said in a column last February. The main purposes for forming CCS, he has noted, are to ensure the viability, accessibility and affordability of Catholic education into the future, increase enrollments, strengthen and improve programming, and ensure teachers and principals receive just salaries.
The 12-person steering committee was chaired by David Borgert, a member of St. Michael Parish in St. Cloud and former Catholic school parent. Over the course of the last year, it organized meetings with pastors, principals and school boards to explain its work, the vision for CCS and answer questions.
The steering committee discussed and incorporated feedback from the public into its discussions and published updates about its work in The Visitor and on the Diocese of St. Cloud’s website (www.stcdio.org). It distributed “frequently asked questions” and answers to parishes and schools for publication in bulletins and newsletters.
The committee reviewed and adopted “National Standards and Benchmarks for Effective Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools” to guide its work. The standards were created by the schools of education of Boston College and Loyola University in Chicago in cooperation with the National Catholic Educational Association.
The committee also submitted a draft start-up budget and bylaws for CCS, and compiled a job description for a CCS superintendent — all of which have been submitted to Bishop Kettler for his review.
Once the bishop approves the CCS plan, the next steps would include forming a corporate board, which would then appoint a board of directors to oversee the major decisions of CCS in areas such as finances, programming and human resources. The board would be composed of pastors and lay people from the parishes involved. The new CCS superintendent would serve as an ex-officio member. Each school site would maintain its own site council, which would serve the board in a consultative role.
The earliest CCS would be operational would be the 2017-2018 academic year. The 2016-2017 school year would then serve as a transition year during which CCS schools would continue their ongoing collaborative efforts.
Anyone with questions or comments about CCS, may continue to submit them by email to: CatholicSchoolsSC@gmail.com.