Charter school enrollment climbs in Sacramento region


Harvest Ridge charter school

Harvest Ridge Placer Academy (from school website)

The following comes from an August 15 story in the Sacramento Bee.

Dozens of private schools across the Sacramento region closed their doors in recent years as enrollment plummeted and students transferred to public schools.

Statewide, private school officials point to a birthrate decline and migration out of California. But they also cite fierce competition from public charter schools as the economy sputtered and families sought cheaper education options.

Between 2007 and 2013, private school enrollment in the four-county region that includes Sacramento, Placer, El Dorado and Yolo dropped by 11 percent, according to the California Department of Education. Over the same period, charter school enrollment shot up 67 percent.

In many cases, families saw high-achieving charter schools as a viable alternative based on performance and cost.

“Charters are definitely becoming way more popular,” said Laura Daggett, whose two children will attend Harvest Ridge Placer Academy in Rocklin. “You are getting a private school education for free. Why pay eight grand when you don’t have to?”

Daggett said she tried public schools, but was dissatisfied and decided to home-school her children before enrolling them in charter schools. For her family, she said, the cost of private schools was too high….

The shift from private to charter has been most noticeable in “highly urban” districts, according to Richard Buddin, an economist and education analyst. In research published last year, he found that 32 percent of students at elementary charter schools came from private schools in urban areas, compared with 8 percent from all districts….

Enrollment in diocesan schools has fallen by about 1,000 students, or 10 percent, over the last five years, and by 23 percent over the last decade.

The diocese shuttered 10 schools over the last seven years, said Rick Maya, director of Catholic schools for the Sacramento Diocese.

Schools in urban communities were hit hardest, while most schools in suburban areas of the diocese remain full.

Maya said part of the problem in urban communities stemmed from quality. Much like public schools, he said, Catholic campuses sometimes struggle to educate students in poorer communities.

“Catholic schools aren’t immune to the achievement gap,” Maya said.

About three years ago, Sacramento Bishop Jaime Soto assembled a committee of community members to come up with ideas on how to stanch the flow of students out of diocesan schools, Maya said. The result was a broad effort to recruit the best teachers and principals, improve teacher training, expand partnerships with Catholic universities and invest in academics and technology, he said.

Maya said the changes have stabilized enrollment.

“You have to wake up and say, what are we going to do different,” he said. “We want to be able to educate all of our youth, regardless of ZIP code.”

Besides recharging its academic approach, the diocese is appealing to consumers in an ever-competitive market.

To sweeten the pot, St. Philomene Catholic School in Arden Arcade is offering laptops for students in third through eighth grades, as well as lower tuition for all families, according to its website.

To read entire story, click here.



  1. Parents always want a good education for their children.
    Does this mean the Bishop Jamie Soto needs to get out of politics, and start teaching according to the Bible and “Catechism of the Catholic Church, Second Edition” ?

    Rather than going to the Laity regarding “Catholic” Schools, why doesn’t Bishop Soto take a less from Bishop Morlino of Madison Wisconsin?

    • Abeca Christian says:

      I agree PETE. I think there is a special gift given to parents, we know what we need but why are our church leaders so blind to those moral needs? Are their hearts changed so much to forget who they are to serve? Jesus!

      A good friend of mine who use to have her kids in Catholic private schools, finally had to make the tough decision to place her kids in a Christian private school. She didn’t have to confront a priest on how to be more Catholic anymore, she didn’t have to stress about some of the Catholic teachers heresy anymore, she didn’t have to remind them what the CCC actually taught about the faith….instead she went to a Christian private school, her kids are prospering more. She takes them to daily mass right before they start school near by. I admire her, at first I was against her sending her kids to a non-Catholic private school but now looking at the way things are….she didn’t have that many good choices and she didn’t want her kids to attend public school nor she felt patient enough to home school. I can’t say I blame her…I have grown up more now and have different views because of the realities we are faced with today.

      • Abbeca, sadly I would have done the same thing as your friend did in such a situation. I have always believed that nothing will kill a child’s faith more effectively than being taught heresies in a Catholic school. At least in another school when something is taught which Catholics don’t believe, the parents can point out to their children that their beliefs differ because we have a different faith.

    • Bishop Soto needs to convince parents why they should pay tuition to attend one of his Catholic Schools when they can get a good education in charter public schools in all subjects except ‘Religion’,
      The difference is the teaching of the Faith in all subjects. I agree with Bishop Morlino. The answer is not in merely providing good teachers of secular subjects.

  2. We started down this slippery slope 60 years ago when many of the American Catholic clerics first refused to address contraception, then divorce, then abortion and now same-sex attraction disorder (Ssad). Where was the USCCB when the Land O’ Lakes was posted and Hesburg and his defiant cohorts publicly dissented from Church teachings? (For that matter, where was the Vatican?) Many in the Church have bought into Secular Humanism because it’s been fed to us incrementally over the years and right from the pulpit thanks to the takeover of many of our seminaries. We’ve been brainwashed to believe that judging behavior is a sin to the point that moral relativism is rampant in our parishes. Jesus admonished us to hate the sin and love the sinner. How can we hate sin, if we don’t know or recognize what is sinful?

    Want to turn things around? If your parish/pastor is teaching moral relativism/liberation theology, find a holy pastor who is putting souls first, join his parish and give him your time, talent and treasure! They ARE out there and need your support. Also, every time a courageous priest or bishop does speak out, find his contact info and send him a thank you. They need to know that we appreciate their courage to do God’s work in this hostile environment. Viva Cristo Rey!

  3. good cause says:

    There are several factors in play here: the rising cost of Catholic school tuition, declining household income and job losses resulting from the Great Recession, desire for neighborhood schools, and the priests sex abuse scandal. Catholic schools are rapidly becoming places only for the very wealthy who can afford the cost or the dirt poor who are on scholarships. No more “cross section” of the Catholic population at its schools. Also, people aren’t leaving the Church because of the birth control decision, they are using birth control to keep their family size reasonable and within their means. Too, if divorced Catholics all left the Church, approximately 40% of US Catholics would disappear overnight. That would please the very hard right faction of the Church, but would also lead to massive parish closures throughout the country.

    • good cause: Divorced Catholics can remain in the Church and receive all the Sacraments.
      Divorced Catholics of a VALID marriage who REMARRY another cannot receive the Sacraments but should continue to go to Mass. They still have the obligation to raise their children as Catholics.
      Divorced Catholics of a VALID marriage who REMARRY may receive all the Sacraments provided they practice continence.

      God, Himself set the rules for ADULTERY – Commandment #6.
      Jesus, Himself set the rules for marriage – Mt 5:31-32;
      Mt 19:3-9; Mk 10:9; Lk 16:18; 1 Cor 7:10-11.

      CCC: ” 1650 Today there are numerous Catholics in many countries who have recourse to civil divorce and contract new civil unions. In fidelity to the words of Jesus Christ – “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another, commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery” the Church maintains that a new union cannot be recognized as valid, if the first marriage was.
      If the divorced are remarried civilly, they find themselves in a situation that objectively contravenes God’s law. Consequently, they cannot receive Eucharistic communion as long as this situation persists. For the same reason, they cannot exercise certain ecclesial responsibilities.
      Reconciliation through the sacrament of Penance can be granted only to those who have repented for having violated the sign of the covenant and of fidelity to Christ, and who are committed to living in complete continence. ”

      CCC: ” 1651 Toward Christians who live in this situation, and who often keep the faith and desire to bring up their children in a Christian manner, priests and the whole community must manifest an attentive solicitude, so that they do not consider themselves separated from the Church, in whose life they can and must participate as baptized persons:
      They should be encouraged to listen to the Word of God, to attend the Sacrifice of the Mass, to persevere in prayer, to contribute to works of charity and to community efforts for justice, to bring up their children in the Christian faith, to cultivate the spirit and practice of penance and thus implore, day by day, God’s grace. ”

      goodcause, if you want to know what the Church teaches, and Faithful Catholics believe – please read the “Catechism of the Catholic Church, Second Edition”.

      Also see: CCC #1664, 2384-85, 2400, 2382, 2386, 2383.

      • Your Fellow Catholic says:

        So Mac, while you say this, and it is true that it is the teaching of the Church, everyone knows that it is tearing the Church apart and perhaps something needs to be done. Even the Holy Father acknowledges this. In Bibilical times, for example, people were dead 15 years after their wedding. Today, people live 75 or more years after their wedding. To permanently extricate a communicant for a single mistake, a single sin or set of sins, decades later, seems not to be in keeping with a Christ offered all on a Cross so that all might have salvation.

        I don’t see the point in harassing divorced and remarried Christians. Finger waiving in their face represents a triumphalism, a kind of – see-I-am-perfect-so-you-can-be-too stance that one doesn’t recognize from the Gospels.

        • Kenneth M. Fisher says:

          So called YFC,

          You don’t know the Catholic Faith at all. God sends souls to Hell because of ONE UNRESOLVED BY REPENTANCE MORTAL SIN!

          May God have mercy on your compromised soul,,
          Kenneth M. Fisher

  4. Michael McDermott says:

    I was in law school in Sacrat0matoe and followed the circus when the Charter Schools acts started the ‘educational’ trend – and even then several things were obvious, including the vast difference in Quality between various providers…

    – Some of whom were already ‘Professional Welfare / Medicare Scammers’ who had simply branched out in to another lucrative form of state tax subsidized ripoffs, albeit one politically friendly to the radical leftist / gender feminist / homosex .Gaystapo that runs the Demicrat Machine.

    Thinking that a Charter School is Exempt from the Mandatory Pandering Pogroms of said Gaystapo, is beyond naive. When Senator Mark “Kiddie Porn King” Leno and his Larry Brinkin Legislative Posse passed draconian Thought Policing laws for school (SB #48)…

    – the intent was to Everywhere Censor Any and All politically un-good Facts about said Gaystapo, its history (from Sparta through the Homo-Nazi Reich…), and its plans for the future (Destroying the hated Y-DNA BioManPigOppressor Patriarchy BAMN) of the Abomination.

    Charter Schools were put forward as a competitive way around the incestuous moribund ‘educational’ system – but like anyone taking Caesar’s Coin…

    Rule #1 in this Age of Abomination Remains (even in grade school)- Pander or Perish.

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