Volunteering at Catholic Schools


#1

In our small rural parish school, one of the “requirements” is that each family contribute a minimum of 40 hours of service to the school during the school year. We have about 38 families and only about a third of them are meeting the service hour requirements. Our tuition is CHEAP compared to other Catholic schools in the state, but we also live in an economically depressed area. The volunteer hours are supposed to offset the operational costs of the school, so the tuition can remain low.

We thought we had a plan in place for handling those who don’t do their hours…bill them $5 per hour for every hour they don’t complete. The problem then becomes collection of the additional amount. This has been a hot topic for debate recently and we (school board) are trying to come up with a way to handle this. We don’t want to lose sight of the mission of the school, which is to provide a solid Catholic education. We also don’t want to penalize the kids (by denying future enrollment) just because the parents don’t do what they are supposed to do.

Sooooo, any ideas out there?? I would greatly appreciate your thoughts!

Kathy


#2

At the diocesan school my daughter attended. If you did not fulfill your required hours the monies were automatically put into your tuition at the end of the year. You would not receive your child’s report card until everything was paid. Went the same for transferring records.

If it is written in the contract that each family must fulfill 40 hours of volunteer labor than when they do not they can be billed for it at the end of the year.
I know this because it happened to me.


#3

Our Catholic school tried that with fundraising and volunteering. It is so difficult to police and monitor such things. And you wouldn’t believe the excuses people give you why they shouldn’t be billed and why they couldn’t fulfill their commitment. Finally, our school raised tuition by that amount. Instead of penalizing people for not doing things (volunteering and fundraising), our school added the “penalties” (which were $800) into the cost of tuition. Those who were needy could approach the principal and the priest and request to do fundraising and volunteer work to “reduce” tuition. This approach completely shifts the attitude–tuition is $XXXX, but less if you can convince the principal and priest that you will make good on your commitment.

You are talking $200 a year for your school (40 hours X $5 an hour). It is just not worth the animosity and ill-will. I say add it to tuition and offer the really committed parents a break on tuition if they want it. (That way the parents who have the money are paying more and the parents who have the time are in effect being paid by the parents who have more money than time. It’s an economic solution! It worked for our school.)


#4

[quote=ReginaNova]Our Catholic school tried that with fundraising and volunteering. It is so difficult to police and monitor such things. And you wouldn’t believe the excuses people give you why they shouldn’t be billed and why they couldn’t fulfill their commitment. Finally, our school raised tuition by that amount. Instead of penalizing people for not doing things (volunteering and fundraising), our school added the “penalties” (which were $800) into the cost of tuition. Those who were needy could approach the principal and the priest and request to do fundraising and volunteer work to “reduce” tuition. This approach completely shifts the attitude–tuition is $XXXX, but less if you can convince the principal and priest that you will make good on your commitment.

You are talking $200 a year for your school (40 hours X $5 an hour). It is just not worth the animosity and ill-will. I say add it to tuition and offer the really committed parents a break on tuition if they want it. (That way the parents who have the money are paying more and the parents who have the time are in effect being paid by the parents who have more money than time. It’s an economic solution! It worked for our school.)
[/quote]

I just think this is the best attitude going!!! :thumbsup:

We partially do this now through the Manna gift card/ gift certificate purchase program. In some places, it’s known as Scrip. I dropped my granddaughters’ tuition in half through the purchase of cards and certificates for the grocery store, tires, home repair, even planned restaurant and book purchases.


#5

**I wish more schools would do this. The cost of Catholic schools around here are really high. It would be a nice break to reduce costs for those who could volunteer their time.

I fear by the time I have children, I will not be able to afford to have them go to a Catholic school.**


#6

Our children to to our parishes Catholic school, we have many fundraisers and their are two times in the school year you must help at one thing or another, nothing big but you have to do it, so either me or my hubby do it, if you don’t the amount is added to your tuition and if you don’t pay it your child simply can’t come back the next year, yes, it may be harsh but if you have some serious reason why you could not help, then you can go speak to the principal and he can then wave it, but once this happened we hardly had any more problems, when it came down to having to go to the principal with your serious reason and then if he felt it was not believable he could very well check up on your story, people felt pretty foolish and started doing their part.

If the school is asking parents to do this and the parents simply won’t do it then why are they sending the kids in the first place?
Of course you will sometimes have serious reason… death in the family, serious illness, no babysitter for younger kids…but often sadly, it is parents simply don’t “feel like it” and in those cases it is not fair to the parent who may not feel like it but does it anyways and goes to the trouble of finding the time, finding a babysitter for younger kids, etc. why do those parents have to be punished by the parents who are simply too lazy?

I would say, serious reasons only and if they can’t find a sitter for their younger children, volunteer to help them find someone, sometimes that is the main reason at our school and when someone lets that parent know of some good sitters in the area who are responsible etc. the parent is very willing to do their part.

Just my 2 cents :slight_smile:


#7

Thanks for your suggestions! Sometimes it helps to get opinions from the outside. Seems like we have hashed this around and around in our own group, so I’ll be happy to take your suggestions to the next board meeting.

Thanks again,

Kathy


#8

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.