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November 16, 2006


The Archdiocese of Philadelphia today announced the results of a survey administered in August 2006 to test the viability of building two new high schools in Hilltown, Pa. and Royersford, Pa.

The mail survey, one phase of a comprehensive feasibility study, was distributed to more than 10,000 parents who live within a 10-mile radius of the proposed sites and have children between third and sixth grades who are currently attending Catholic elementary schools or participating in religious education programs within their parish.

“We’re extremely encouraged by the results of this research,” said Bishop Joseph P. McFadden, Auxiliary Bishop of Philadelphia, who oversees the Office of Catholic Education. “Our parents have spoken through this survey, indicating that support exists for these high schools. They have demonstrated an interest in enrolling their children, an enthusiasm for the importance of Catholic education within a state-of-the-art facility and a willingness to pay an increased tuition to provide their children with this educational experience.”

The survey focused on several key objectives: 1) determining parental interest in two proposed new schools in Hilltown, Pa. and Royersford, Pa.; 2) understanding parents’ motivating factors behind selecting/not selecting the new schools for their children; 3) identifying other schools where parents might consider sending their children for secondary education; 4) assessing parents’ willingness to pay increased tuition for a new facility and 5) understanding parents’ thoughts on how interested their children are in possibly attending the new high schools.

Among those surveyed with children currently enrolled in parish elementary schools near the proposed Royersford site, 67% indicated that they would most likely send their children to the new school. Among the same group surveyed within a 10-mile distance of the proposed Hilltown location, 50% expressed their intent to choose the new facility for their children.

Among all parents surveyed near the proposed Royersford location (parents of children currently enrolled in parish schools and parents with children participating in parish religious education/CCD programs), 49% responded that they would be likely to send their children to a new Catholic high school, if built. Among the same collective group of parents contacted near the proposed Hilltown site, 32% voiced their interest in sending their children to a new Catholic secondary school.

Parents who indicated that they “definitely” or “probably would” send their children to one of the two proposed new high schools cited faith formation, school location and a new, state-of-the-art educational facility as the three primary motivating factors that would fuel their decision. Almost half of all parents expressed that they would pay a tuition increase in exchange for those factors.

At the beginning of the feasibility study, the Archdiocese communicated that each school would need to attract a minimum number of 1200 students to be considered viable. The survey determined that both proposed high schools would meet or exceed their minimum enrollment criteria.

According to Bishop McFadden, the Archdiocese has a thorough analysis to complete before making a final decision on the proposed schools. This analysis includes a thorough architectural evaluation and site planning process, the preparation of a comprehensive financial and fundraising plan to fund each school’s minimum estimated $45 million cost and continued dialogue with pastors and archdiocesan leaders, parents and township/government officials.

Bishop McFadden further emphasized the Archdiocese’s commitment to continuing to operate schools in close proximity to the Royersford and Hilltown sites, i.e. Kennedy-Kenrick Catholic High School in Norristown, Pa., Lansdale Catholic High School in Lansdale, Pa. and St. Pius X High School in Pottstown, Pa. “Until we reach a final decision on building new schools, the resources and support of the Archdiocese will continue to be invested in our current students at our current high schools,” said Bishop McFadden. “Our commitment to quality Catholic education for our students remains constant, no matter where this feasibility study leads us.”

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia currently enrolls more than 20,000 students in 20 archdiocesan high schools.


Donna M. Farrell
Director of Communications

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