Private schools seem to hold their own - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Private schools seem to hold their own

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By Delivrine Registre - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Many families are cutting corners because of the tough economy, but so far private school education doesn't seem to be one of them.

Most private schools are now enrolling for the next school year, so we don't know yet exactly how the recession will affect schools. But so far, private schools in Albany say their enrollment is steady.

St. Teresa's Catholic School is one of several private schools in Dougherty County that will spend the next month enrolling students for the 2009-2010 school year, and they actually hope to increase their enrollment next year.

"At the beginning of this year, we began a marketing campaign to promote our school. So I think we are ahead of the game," said St. Teresa Principal, Mary Gamache.

St Teresa teaches Pre-K through eighth grades. And right now they have close to 200 students with about 15 to 20 students per class, which remains to be a big draw for a lot parents even during the recession.

"People are having a hard time, I know that people are losing their jobs and we are sensitive to that. So we try to keep our tuition as low as possible," said Gamache.

It costs about $5,400 in tuition a year. That is the figure of payroll and maintenance fees divided per student. "So for us, tuition can go down. If our enrollment goes up our tuition goes down. We don't make any money, " said Gamache.

But even schools that charge more tuition have seen steady enrollment. "Our inquiries and enrollment applications are about normal for this time of the year," said Deerfield Windsor Headmaster, W. T. Henry.

850 students attend Deerfield Windsor schools with 100% of their students attending college when they graduate. And it is these results that keep parents from cutting private schools from their budgets.

"Our children are the future of our country and successful leaders have a great education and I don't think education is the place to cut back," said Gamache.

"Other than the money that you give to church and the good Lord, your child's education is the most important money you will spend in your life time," said Henry. And many parents feel the same.

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