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Private schools expect enrollment increases
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Tuesday, April 23, 2013 11:00 AM
ENROLLMENT CLIMBING: Fourth graders Aimee Corbin, left, and Shivani Parmar work on a math problem Monday at Pope John XXIII Elementary School. Prince of Peace Catholic Schools and the Christian Academy of Madison both are expecting sizable increases in enrollment in the fall. (Staff photo by Ken Ritchiefirstname.lastname@example.org)
Enrollment in two of Madison's private school systems is on the rise.
Prince of Peace Catholic Schools announced that school registration for new students has gone up for the fourth consecutive year. Shawe Memorial High School and Pope John XXIII Elementary School are expecting between 50 to 60 new students to sign up for classes next year. To match the growth, the school plans to hire two or three new teachers for next year.
"We are excited that over the last four years we have had a lot of interest in our schools from the Madison/Hanover community and the surrounding areas," Prince of Peace President Phil Kahn said in a release. "We continue to have students come to us from all different areas of Southern Indiana and the state of Kentucky."
The Christian Academy of Madison is also growing and retaining its student body.
For the 2012-2013 school year, the Christian Academy of Madison had 135 students enrolled. School administrator Anna Gosman said the school is budgeted for 150 students through the 2014 school year, and they could have more.
Next year, the school will offer a senior class for the first time. The school was founded in 2007.
"When we first started, we only went through sixth grade," Gosman said. "As we've aged, we've added more classes as families have wanted to stay with us. We expanded to seventh and eighth grade. We're finally ready to add that first graduating class."
So far, the Christian Academy has 69 students enrolled for next school year, which is more than they normally do at this time of year.
Gosman attributed many of the new enrollments to the Indiana Choice Scholarship Program, a voucher program signed by former Gov. Mitch Daniels in 2011.
"Many parents do call in asking about the choice scholarship or the (school scholarship tax credit)," Gosman said.
Steve Hesse, principal of Shawe Memorial, said that there have been "a number of new students transfer to Shawe and Pope John."
The controversial law was challenged and taken to the Indiana Supreme Court, which unanimously upheld the law in March. The ruling on the teachers union-supported lawsuit ended the legal challenge at the state level. While a case could be made on a federal level, it appears unlikely because of a 2002 decision made by the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a similar program in Ohio.
Opponents to the voucher program argued that it sent public funds to private institutions. The Indiana Supreme Court's ruling said that "the voucher program expenditures do not directly benefit religious schools but rather directly benefit lower-income families with school-children by providing an opportunity for such children to attend non-public schools if desired."
Statehouse Republican's are looking to expand the school voucher bill this year, but with time running down on the General Assembly, neither the House nor Senate have been able to fully agree on the bill.
Gosman is a proponent of the school voucher program.
"I think Indiana is an excellent place to live for family in general. There are so many school options. Now you have the choice to pick which school best meet the needs of your individual child. Indiana is definitely cutting edge in the country, as far as choice goes."
Prince of Peace opened enrollment on March 12, with tours continuing through the summer. The Christian Academy has open enrollment year round. Both schools say that classes are filling up quickly.
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