Maryland’s Catholic schools have served the state for two centuries, making them an integral part of its educational landscape. Today, Catholic schools educate nearly 50,000 students annually.
Catholic schools are also very ethnically, racially and economically diverse. On average, the Catholic school students in Maryland’s diocese are approximately 39% minority and several schools have a majority student population that are eligible for the federal free and reduced-price meal programs, a common indicator of low-income populations. Moreover, more than 25% of children educated in Catholic schools are non-Catholic, with that figure often around 50% or more in urban areas.
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Our Catholic and other nonpublic schools are very thankful to our state legislature for the assistance that they provide. The Conference actively works to defend the four programs which provide assistance to our schools. The first of these programs, the Nonpublic Textbook Program, helps nonpublic school parents save money on textbook and technology costs, with lower income school parents receiving significantly greater funding. Two capital programs, the Senator James E. “Ed” DeGrange Nonpublic Aging Schools and Safety Improvements Programs, assist schools with aging-infrastructure improvements and school security measures. Schools with older buildings and lower-income students receive increased funding.
Lastly, the Broadening Options and Opportunities for Students Today Program, or BOOST, provides scholarship assistance to lower-income parents to enable them to choose Catholic schools as an educational option for their children. BOOST has helped thousands of parents choose the educational option best fit for their child, a principle inherent to Catholic social teaching.
Together, these programs provide nonpublic school students and parents with $20.5 million in assistance. Thanks to the fervent advocacy of our Catholic and other nonpublic school parents, grandparents, teacher and other faithful supporters, our state has responded in support of Catholic school parents.