The cost of PSR

While browsing a local church's website, I discovered that their fee for PSR classes is almost $200 per child! I thought that was very strange and I wondered if it made it very difficult for some families with many children to send their kids. I can't think of much that's more important then our children's religious education and I hate to think that some kids aren't able to attend due to money. I asked a friend who teaches PSR and she told me that her church only charges $25 per child to pay for the workbook, and that's known to be waived in many cases. However, she suggested that lots of churches charge a higher fee because it weeded out families that "weren't really serious about it". I found that sentiment really disturbing! Why would you deliberatly put up any barrier between children and Christ? Anyone have any insight on the subject? What does $200 pay for anyway?

Is this your parish?

We have two different rates. It’s $25.00 for registered parishioners but much higher (I think it’s $150) for non-parishioners. Even the $25 is waived for about a third of the students. Unfortunately, we have families who parish-hop for CCE and are not contributing members (in time, talent OR treasure) of any parish. Or they are trying to dodge attendance requirements before a Sacrament year. So, yes, the high rate is a deterrent.

It’s possible that the the rate published on the web site is the “street rate” but that parishioners pay much less.

Wow - $200?? That's insane! Do the instructors there get paid, or are they volunteers?

Our church charges $35 for CCD, for the first child. Then I think it is $55 for 2 kids, and maybe $75 max for 3+ kids? I don't recall; as it's not something I have to worry about, only having one. My son is heading into 4th, and actually, I've never paid the fee. I volunteered to teach the first year he started, and found out that she doesn't charge for anyone who has a parent volunteer to teach. That was a pleasant surprise.

Even at only $35, there is still always a note on the registration form that mentions that fees can be waived for those with hardships.

I forget the per child fee, but our parish is $90 max per family, but no child is turned away and if you volunteer to help with the program, it's free.

Personally, I think our current workbooks are worthless. We switched from a really good program that I liked to a lousy one because it had a chastity component that our archdiocese requires now. :(

My co-teacher and I didn't use them at all last year. Unfortunately, I'm not teaching this year since I'm having a baby this fall. And, my co-teacher is running her husband's campaign for a political office. It makes me a little sad because we two have the knowledge and teaching talent (thank God for the Graces) to design and present a very solid and dynamic class. But, a lot of volunteers lean heavily on the texts--which are so lame!!!

I wish, wish, wish our parish would concentrate on teaching the parents alongside the kids so real learning would take place. I really think that Sunday school is soooooo inadequate if nothing is being done at home.

I think that as a parent if I felt unprepared or didn't have the time to teach catechism at home, I'd consider seeing if the DRE would accept catechismclass.com/ I think it's a better use of the money.

It's very good. :thumbsup:

[quote="Corki, post:2, topic:250134"]
Is this your parish?

We have two different rates. It's $25.00 for registered parishioners but much higher (I think it's $150) for non-parishioners. Even the $25 is waived for about a third of the students. Unfortunately, we have families who parish-hop for CCE and are not contributing members (in time, talent OR treasure) of any parish. Or they are trying to dodge attendance requirements before a Sacrament year. So, yes, the high rate is a deterrent.

It's possible that the the rate published on the web site is the "street rate" but that parishioners pay much less.

[/quote]

It's not my parish currently. My parish is the one that costs $25. It's a parish that my fiance is interviewing for a job in, so it could potentially become my parish. I'm a little concerned because I've observed a very sad trend in my locality of Catholics being prejudiced against the children of Catholics who send their kids to public school. I was worried that this rediculous cost might be associated with that mentality.

[quote="Allegra, post:5, topic:250134"]
It's not my parish currently. My parish is the one that costs $25. It's a parish that my fiance is interviewing for a job in, so it could potentially become my parish. I'm a little concerned because I've observed a very sad trend in my locality of Catholics being prejudiced against the children of Catholics who send their kids to public school. I was worried that this rediculous cost might be associated with that mentality.

[/quote]

The bolded points to another possibility. Does this parish have a parish school? There is nothing wrong with encouraging parents to use the parish school rather than a public school.

In some parishes with schools, the CCE/PSR program draws from school resources by using school facilities, school supplies and even sharing teachers. In those parishes, it seems reasonable to work out a way to share the costs too. It may be premature to call this a "ridiculous cost" until you have more information about what the cost covers.

Around here, we see the opposite "trend" where people, even some priests think that sending a child to CCE once a week is an equal Catholic education to sending a child to a good Catholic school. ;)

[quote="Corki, post:6, topic:250134"]
The bolded points to another possibility. Does this parish have a parish school? There is nothing wrong with encouraging parents to use the parish school rather than a public school.

In some parishes with schools, the CCE/PSR program draws from school resources by using school facilities, school supplies and even sharing teachers. In those parishes, it seems reasonable to work out a way to share the costs too. It may be premature to call this a "ridiculous cost" until you have more information about what the cost covers.

Around here, we see the opposite "trend" where people, even some priests think that sending a child to CCE once a week is an equal Catholic education to sending a child to a good Catholic school. ;)

[/quote]

The parish in question has a parish school, as do most of the parishes in the area. I haven't had the chance to look at the school and see if it's any good, but based on the location of the church, I know that they are competing with a very good public school district. This district has a reputation as being assessed as one of the best in the nation, so it wouldn't surprise me if parents simply can't justify the parish school, especially if any of their children have special needs or talents that the parish school doesn't have the resources to support. (ie. special ed, speech therapist, honors classes, orchestra, etc.)

There is also the complaint that SOME of the parish schools do not teach good catechism to the kids and have a tendency to be more of a social status thing then a good Catholic upbringing. I know several families that refuse to send their children to their parish school due to that perception. (I have no idea if the school in quesiton falls into that catagory, but social status is something that is highly regarded in that neighborhood.)

I don't have a problem with a parish promoting its school, though I disagree with the idea that children who don't attend it should be punished, excluded, or "weeded out" in any way. First of all, the choice is the parents, not theirs. Secondly, it is in direct contradition to the church's mission to evangelize and spread the Gosple. Lastly, its based on a lie. Many public school families do a much better job of teaching the faith to their children then some parish school families.

In my parish (which I consider to be a particularly good one) there are many families who send their kids to parish school and don't bother getting up on the weekends to bring them to Mass. They seem to figure, what am I paying tuition for? They can go to church on school days! The numbers don't lie. There are over 200 families with students enrolled in our parish school. Less than half of them show up for Sunday Mass on a given weekend.

Frankly, I think the main motivation of parents who tout the notion that public school students are in some way inferior to their own children is social status, not piety. In my area, sadly, I suspect racism and elitism also play smaller roles in that attitude.

My mom was dre for a while.
Im in slight agreement of the deturrant factor.
Parents would lie about mass attendace, help their child cheat on quizzes..and even steal bullitians from the printers.

The parents behavior was so aggregious that unfortunatly their child would loose out for the protection of others. You can only do so much.

The other thing is that while First Communion can be stolen (and was) Confirmation cannot. These parents would manipulate their kid through at best. Keeping a tight reign on religious ed. Keeps people on track.

[quote="purplesunshine, post:8, topic:250134"]
My mom was dre for a while.
Im in slight agreement of the deturrant factor.
Parents would lie about mass attendace, help their child cheat on quizzes..and even steal bullitians from the printers.

The parents behavior was so aggregious that unfortunatly their child would loose out for the protection of others. You can only do so much.

The other thing is that while First Communion can be stolen (and was) Confirmation cannot. These parents would manipulate their kid through at best. Keeping a tight reign on religious ed. Keeps people on track.

[/quote]

How does making the class expensive deter bad behavior? Is your contention that the children of poorer parents are the ones who should be kept out? Are they the ones who cause all the trouble?

[quote="Allegra, post:7, topic:250134"]

In my parish (which I consider to be a particularly good one) there are many families who send their kids to parish school and don't bother getting up on the weekends to bring them to Mass. They seem to figure, what am I paying tuition for? They can go to church on school days! The numbers don't lie. There are over 200 families with students enrolled in our parish school. Less than half of them show up for Sunday Mass on a given weekend.

Frankly, I think the main motivation of parents who tout the notion that public school students are in some way inferior to their own children is social status, not piety. In my area, sadly, I suspect racism and elitism also play smaller roles in that attitude.

[/quote]

Do you go to my church? Once reason my daughter no longer goes to Catholic school is because this attitude is so prevalent and DH and I had enough of paying to associate with hypocrites.

Once parishes get the Catholic school kids in line, THEN they can worry about us parents raising heathens. :mad:

[quote="Z1Z2, post:10, topic:250134"]
Do you go to my church? Once reason my daughter no longer goes to Catholic school is because this attitude is so prevalent and DH and I had enough of paying to associate with hypocrites.

Once parishes get the Catholic school kids in line, THEN they can worry about us parents raising heathens. :mad:

[/quote]

I'm sure its a problem in more than one parish. It seems to be more of a problem in more privileged neighborhoods.

[quote="purplesunshine, post:8, topic:250134"]
My mom was dre for a while.
Im in slight agreement of the deturrant factor.
Parents would lie about mass attendace, help their child cheat on quizzes..and even steal bullitians from the printers.

The parents behavior was so aggregious that unfortunatly their child would loose out for the protection of others. You can only do so much.

The other thing is that while First Communion can be stolen (and was) Confirmation cannot. These parents would manipulate their kid through at best. Keeping a tight reign on religious ed. Keeps people on track.

[/quote]

And the Catholic school kids are perfect? I know quite a few families whose kids go to Catholic school whose kids are not in the pews come Sunday. How many parents of the Catholic school kids think their job is done when the the kids are dropped off in the morning with a check for tuition? SoR parents just happen to drop their own kids at a different school AND make the extra effort to make sure their kids pick up the few scraps of learning parishes (graciously? haven't seen any here - only scorn) deign to throw to them. Frankly, it is a wonder that any SoR child continues to be Catholic, considering the attitude with which they are so often greeted...

[quote="Allegra, post:9, topic:250134"]
How does making the class expensive deter bad behavior? Is your contention that the children of poorer parents are the ones who should be kept out? Are they the ones who cause all the trouble?

[/quote]

No its the wealthy ones who are the problem. They are accoustomed to society bending to their whims. The poor know there are tuition wavers. its well known and generally unverified unless something odd comes up. The rich pay and all of the sudden the lying, cheating and stealing becomes lessened because religious ed is held to the same caliber of flute lessons and tutoring.

[quote="Z1Z2, post:12, topic:250134"]
And the Catholic school kids are perfect? I know quite a few families whose kids go to Catholic school whose kids are not in the pews come Sunday. How many parents of the Catholic school kids think their job is done when the the kids are dropped off in the morning with a check for tuition? SoR parents just happen to drop their own kids at a different school AND make the extra effort to make sure their kids pick up the few scraps of learning parishes (graciously? haven't seen any here - only scorn) deign to throw to them. Frankly, it is a wonder that any SoR child continues to be Catholic, considering the attitude with which they are so often greeted...

[/quote]

I never mentiond catholic schools. In my area in the ny mountians it was not an option. The nearest was 45 mins at best. My mom isnt dre because the parental bad behavior eventually got to her.

For instance classes ran weekly for 9 weeks for first penance then an addtional 9 for communion. Parents would put there kid in...go to maybe a total of 3 classes. Pitch a fit 2 days prior begging for make up work. Feeling "wronged" they would drive to another churh and let their kid recieve. A kid who didnt even know the our father or even that there were two testiments. ZERO.

Parents were even given homeschool options. The standards were soooo low. Our Father, basic story of Jesus, what is communion and another 2 questions I forget. All of which were outlined multiple times.

At some point we do have to guard the sacraments. Even unbaptized kids have gotton to recieve...its not all about letting the kids do whatever. When Jesus wanted the little children he did not indicate that he wanted parents to lie cheat or steal to get him.

What is PSR?

[quote="Norseman82, post:15, topic:250134"]
What is PSR?

[/quote]

Public School Religion classes.

[quote="PaulinVA, post:16, topic:250134"]
Public School Religion classes.

[/quote]

Oh, we call it CCD.

My first thought when seeing the abbreviation was that it had something to do with a blood test for prostate cancer (like PSA exams).

[quote="Allegra, post:9, topic:250134"]
How does making the class expensive deter bad behavior? Is your contention that the children of poorer parents are the ones who should be kept out? Are they the ones who cause all the trouble?

[/quote]

I think it deters bad behavior because a parent who pays a significant amount for something is going to expect their child to behave so he/she doesn't get kicked out. If a parent pays $20 or $25 bucks and the kid acts out or skips half the classes - no big loss, just sign up again next year. But if there is real money involved, the parents will likely have a strong reaction the first time their kids comes home with a warning letter.

The higher fees don't really affect the poorer families at all. Anyone who request a financial waiver in our parish gets one. We don't even ask for documentation.

The real question is what does the fee cover? We only charge $25 at our parish (for parishioner families). Our expenses (books and supplies) are about double that per student. If we factored in operational expenses such as the cost to heat/cool the buildings, lights, maintenance, furniture, etc., we would be around $75 - $100 per student and that doesn't include any salaries. The secretary is paid by the Church but also does work for the CCE program. Our DRE works for free but the diocese doen't like that so it will probaby change too.

Given how many tuition waivers we give, in order to have a self-sustaining CCE program, we really should be charging well over $100 per child, more in Sacrament years (to cover flowers, music and retreats). That works out, by the way, to $12.50 per month. Is there any other activity or lesson you can sign a kid up for that is that inexpensive?

And of course the returns are priceless. ;)

[quote="Allegra, post:1, topic:250134"]
What does $200 pay for anyway?

[/quote]

this may be a parish that expects PSR/RE/CCD to be entirely self-supporting. Assuming they have one paid staff person to direct the program, train the volunteers, do all the paperwork and oversee all sessions, and they have to pay something for overhead of the place classes meet, $200 would cover a portion of the real cost of providing 20-30 classes a year per child plus resources.

One big variable is whether or not the place they meet belongs to the parish and if there are costs associated with it.

In a parish that tithes or practices stewardship spirituality, the cost to parents and families may be little or nothing.

Every parish must publish a financial report each year which gives breakdowns of these costs. Request it from your parish if you have doubts about how these fees meet real costs.

[quote="leonie, post:4, topic:250134"]
I
I think that as a parent if I felt unprepared or didn't have the time to teach catechism at home, I'd consider seeing if the DRE would accept catechismclass.com/ I think it's a better use of the money.

[/quote]

thank you all and here for volunteering

the DRE does not have the authority to "accept" this or any other program. The diocese has a list of approved texts and program and the pastor, usually advised by a parish council commision, chooses and approves what will be used in the parish. And yes, there is a cost to the parish and to the family if this site is used for formal RE.

PSR usually means "Parish School of Religion" but most people where Catholic schools are common do think of it as "Public School Religion" classes.

[quote="purplesunshine, post:14, topic:250134"]
I never mentiond catholic schools. In my area in the ny mountians it was not an option. The nearest was 45 mins at best. My mom isnt dre because the parental bad behavior eventually got to her.

For instance classes ran weekly for 9 weeks for first penance then an addtional 9 for communion. Parents would put there kid in...go to maybe a total of 3 classes. Pitch a fit 2 days prior begging for make up work. Feeling "wronged" they would drive to another churh and let their kid recieve. A kid who didnt even know the our father or even that there were two testiments. ZERO.

Parents were even given homeschool options. The standards were soooo low. Our Father, basic story of Jesus, what is communion and another 2 questions I forget. All of which were outlined multiple times.

At some point we do have to guard the sacraments. Even unbaptized kids have gotton to recieve...its not all about letting the kids do whatever. When Jesus wanted the little children he did not indicate that he wanted parents to lie cheat or steal to get him.

[/quote]

As a teacher, I can understand how obnoxious parents can be. But wouldn't the solution be to hold to the assigned standards for receiving the sacraments? Afterall, there are only two years of PSR where sacraments are even an issue. Why make the class unaffordable for the rest of the years the kids are in class?

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