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The Baltimore Archdiocese has released findings of a study that explores the economic benefits of Catholic education, namely that the city's parochial schools save taxpayers millions and produce high achieving students who contribute significantly to the local economy.

An independent study conducted by local economist and Baltimore City school board member, Anirban Basu, found that each year, Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Baltimore save Maryland taxpayers more than $380 million in per pupil expenses and provide an additional $393.3 million into the local economy in income and revenue.  Among Basu's other findings is that graduation rates, college acceptances, and post-college income levels are higher among Catholic school students than those who attend public school.

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The full report can be found here.

Basu, chairman and CEO of the Baltimore-based economic consulting firm Sage Policy Group, is also a member of  the recently appointed Archdiocese of Baltimore School Board, which began meeting this month to stabilize a system that has struggled financially and closed 28 of its schools, or 40 percent, since 2000. According to a release from the Archdiocese, Basu's study was completed last year.

The report comes at a time when the Archdiocese is positioning itself to make sweeping changes to boost its Catholic program's appeal. The new school board, which includes many high-profile members of the education, business and philanthropic communities, will be advising the archdiocesan school system on matters such as advancement, finances, facilities and leadership.

Fellow Ed Reporter Liz Bowie pointed out an interesting tid-bit about this report: It was released the same week that the Maryland General Assembly convened. Last legislative session, Archbishop Edwin F. O'Brien testified before state lawmakers in support of a corporate income tax credit to help public and private schools. With a bleek budget year forecasted for education, it will be interesting to see if the Archbishop makes another appearance in Annapolis this year-- with this report in tow.

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