Bookmark and Share

November 30, 2000

SAINT PIUS X CATHOLIC HIGH SCHOOL TASK FORCE
SHARES SURVEY RESULTS WITH COMMUNITY

SURVEY SOUGHT INPUT ON OPTIONS TO ADDRESS
PROJECTED POPULATION GROWTH

In December, 1999, the Archdiocesan Board of Education Strategic Planning Committee completed a study of the growth areas of the Archdiocese. Using Archdiocesan and Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission demographic data, the committee has identified high growth areas in the Bucks and Montgomery counties, particularly near St. Pius X Catholic High School and surrounding areas. The demographic data indicates that the northwestern region of Montgomery County projects strong population growth by the Year 2020. St. Pius X Catholic High School is at capacity, and is not equipped to handle the current and projected growth in this area. This area currently has a lack of coverage with regard to Catholic secondary education.

On March 14, 2000, the Archdiocesan Board of Education hosted an "open forum" for parents, teachers, and interested members of the community. The options presented were: 1) Expand the present facility; 2) build a new St. Pius X High School; and 3) do nothing.

A local Task Force was formed at Pius X Catholic High School to investigate the three options. In an effort to gather input from the families in the service area, Peter G. Federico associates was hired to construct a survey and analyze the data gathered. The survey was distributed to the parents of identified third to sixth grade students who attend either Catholic schools or participate in the parish CCD (religious education) program. A total of 1,700 families representing 20 parishes were given the survey, with 753 (44.3%) surveys returned. This reflected an adequate return rate for a survey of this type.

The results of this survey serve as support for a recommendation, not a final decision. These results will need to be viewed within a context that includes the actions of other schools in the system, both elementary and secondary and the implications those actions have on enrollment.

Attached is the Executive Summary of the survey results which has been forwarded to pastors, principals of feeder parishes, faculty and Directors of Religious Education, who will share with others in the community who participated in the survey.

# # #

Executive Summary
Saint Pius X High School
Interest Survey
Fall 2000



Background


The Archdiocesan School Board conducted a demographic study for the five county area as part of a strategic planning process. As part of the process, a town meeting was held at St. Pius X High School on March 14 to present the findings of the study as it relates to Montgomery County and to gather input from those in attendance. A local task force was created to investigate the three options presented to us at the town meeting. Those options were:

1. expand the present school to accommodate projected increasing enrollment
2. build a new school in Limerick or Upper Providence Township and close the Pottstown building
3. do nothing

The task force has met monthly since last March. In an effort to gather input from the families in the service area, Peter G. Federico Associates was hired to construct a survey and analyze the data gathered. Approximately 1,700 surveys were sent to parents of 3rd through 6th grade students in the surrounding Catholic elementary schools and parish CCD programs. The results of this survey serve as support for a recommendation, not a final decision. These results will need to be viewed within a context that includes the actions of other schools in the system, both elementary and secondary and the implications those actions have on enrollment. While the task force waited for the results of the survey, it investigated the feasibility of the three options.

Option one Expand the present facility. A two-story 100,000-sq. ft. addition to the present building on the 12 acre Pottstown site was proposed. To accomplish this, a portion of the existing stadium and playing fields would be lost to construction space and required additional parking. While this option had the major advantage of a lower cost compared to building an entirely new school there were several major disadvantages:

1. an addition to the school would reduce the acreage available for athletic practice fields. This would require the school to locate a separate site for athletic fields. Having fields and school building on the same campus was preferred.
2. Remaining at the Pottstown location would not meet the needs of the projected population increase in the more central areas of the county.
3. The perceived lack of support for remaining at the present site.

Option two Build a new St. Pius X High School east of the present site on sufficient acreage to include all athletic practice/playing fields and a state-of-the-art facility. The task force investigated this option by locating an area which would qualify for public school district busing. An area straddling both Limerick and Upper Providence townships was identified.

Option three Do nothing. This option was rejected immediately as irresponsible and unfair to the families in a growing service area. New schools will be built for an expanding St. Clare parish in Linfield, St. Mary in Schwenksville, and St. Peter parish in Sanatoga. Also, Sacred Heart School in Royersford will be deconsolidated.


RESULTS

The results of the survey were returned to the task force in July, 2000. The survey responses mirrored the sentiment that was expressed at the town meeting in March.

The survey was designed to provide insight into the need and interest of the surveyed population to renovating the current St. Pius X High School or building a new school in the Limerick area; and the identification of elements which could be included in a renovation or new construction which may increase/decrease parent interest in sending their children to St. Pius X High School.

A summary of the survey findings follow:

753 surveys returned and analyzed (44.3% response rate)
81% of respondents lived within the Archdiocese for more than 11 years.
67% have been in their parish more than 9 years

1. Need/Interest
a) 932 school aged students (class of 2002 2005) represented
b) 94% respondents want strong Christian values
c) 64% prefer an Archdiocesan high school
d) 19% would send their children to public schools
e) the respondents expressed concern about the overall quality of education and the ability of the facilities to support this education

2. Preference: Renovate or build a new school
a) there was overwhelming support (86%) for the creation of a new St. Pius X High School
65% reported that Limerick increased their interest
11% reported that the Limerick location decreased their interest

3. Desirability of Proposed Change
Considered most attractive to respondents the top three choices were:
a) state of the art computer labs
b) alternative learning labs
c) science laboratories



Conclusion

In conclusion, the survey demonstrated a strong need for a massive expansion or rebuilding of St. Pius X High School; a strong preference for the construction of a new, modern St. Pius X High School in the Limerick Township area; a strong support for a new, technically advanced facility; and, a strong interest in quality curriculum and facilities to support that curriculum.

When the Task Force completes its work, it will make a formal recommendation to the Board of Education.

###

Contact
Marie Kelly
Associate Director
215-587-3747

Back to Top