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Catholic school courts wealthier market
A Catholic elementary school on New York City’s Upper West Side says it is thriving since it sought an upscale and more affluent student base.
“Our competition or our standard isn’t another good Catholic school. It’s the best independent schools in Manhattan, and we intend to achieve the same level of performance that they do, academically, developmentally,” said Rev. Angelo Gambatese, pastor of St. Stephen of Hungary Church.
The school charges about $8,000 in annual tuition, a quarter of what some schools charge, but there has been a cost. Three years ago 46 percent of the students received free or reduced-priced lunches, in keeping with the Catholic Church’s tradition of tending to the poor, the New York Times reported Monday. The number is 17 percent today.
Enrollment of African-American students has dropped 15 percent, and the Hispanic population has dropped 33 percent, the newspaper noted, since the school re-invented itself with new features to attract higher-income students, like French classes for 3-year-olds and violin lessons for fourth and fifth graders.
Copyright 2012 by United Press International