Catholic Schools See Decrease In Enrollment Due To Economy

by Diane Tuazon
NewsWest 9

ODESSA - Uniforms, tuition, and religion; it's all part of a traditional Catholic school. It's an extra price to pay for parents who say they expect more from the school they send their kids to.

"Being in a catholic environment or religious environment is great. Many parents like having religion emphasized at school as well," St. Mary's Principal, Josie Mediano, said.

Lyd Reyes had four of her children attend St. Mary's and she says it was worth every penny.

"We're really at a higher standard here. When they go to junior high everything's so easy for them; they're advanced," Reyes said.

With the economic climate effecting everyone now, more parents are opting to take them out of private schools and into public schools.

"Our enrollment is 232, and we're down about 18 students. Parents are trying to find ways to save money and sometimes that's the decision you have to make," Mediano said.

St. Mary's offers scholarships to students, but Principal Mediano says this year is different.

"I don't have that many scholarships available like in the past because of the economy, so some of that has to do with lack of scholarships," Mediano said.

St. Mary's Catholic School is hopeful that in time they'll overcome this economic hurdle.

"I'm very confident that it will pick up. They maybe waiting a little bit and decide to come back, but we're hopeful that we'll pick up again if not surpass the enrollment," Mediano said.

Principal Mediano says they usually have some transfer students or others start later because they didn't realize St. Mary's classes began earlier than public schools.