Gold cross, clenched fist

New York’s Catholic-school parents have had enough. The state is supposed to reimburse these schools for programs mandated by Albany. But the state has not paid up since 2003, and added a new payroll tax last May to bail out the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. This payroll tax applies to all public and private schools in the twelve counties served by MTA, but a last minute provision ensured that public schools would get reimbursed at the end of the year. The tax has already added up to $460,000 for the Diocese of Brooklyn and $680,000 for the New York Archdiocese. That’s on top of the missing $243 million owed parochial schools in these twelve counties for state-required programs. At a recent 1000-parent-strong rally on Staten Island, church leaders revealed that they may have to raise tuition by $500 a student to cover the new tax and the funding shortfall. Parents who can’t afford a tuition hike to bridge this gap may have to pull their children out next year--which would of course increase the state’s education costs, as those kids start attending public schools at full taxpayer expense. If the Church won’t stand up for the future of Catholic schools, maybe parents will.

Catholic School Parents Angry at Albany,” by Lisa Evers, MyFoxNY, December 10, 2009

Nearly 1,000 turn out to protest new state tax that hurts Catholic schools,” by Amy Padnani, Staten Island Advance, December 11, 2009

Editorial: Right this wrong,” Staten Island Advance, December 14, 2009