Mid-Missouri Catholic Schools Rise Above the National Trend
COLUMBIA- 174 Catholic schools have closed around the nation so far this year. These schools have closed due to falling enrollment and rising tuition. But, Mid-Missouri doesn't seem to follow these trends.
There are 39 schools in the Jefferson City diocese. 37 of these are elementary schools and two are high schools. Around 7,000 students attend Catholic school in this area.
The area extends from the Missouri-Iowa border down to a little south of Rolla. It also stretched from a little west of Marshall to Jonesberg.
This diocese increased by 75 students this year.
Donald F. Novotney, the superintendent of the Jefferson City diocese says, "We were a few weeks ago cited by the National Catholic Education Association as the only diocese in Missouri to increase enrollment."
Novotney thinks this is becuase, " Our fees and tuition are very low and secondly the commitment."
Columbia Catholic School is plenty full.
"We have 606 students, 394 families and 43 students on the waiting list, so you can see were not decreasing."
But these K through 8 kids have no Catholic High School in Columbia, but not for long.
A new Catholic High School is being built right now on Discovery Parkway. When the school opens next fall, the principal Kristie Wolfe hopes there will be 50 freshman and 50 sophomores will attend the school. But, the school will be able to hold 400 students eventually.
"I think eventually the school will hold 400," says Novotney.
Currently, some parents are carpooling their kids all the way to Helias in Jefferson City and a new Catholic High School in Columbia may ease the commute.
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