Tough econ­omy hits Chris­tian and pri­vate schools

The Covington News - - Religion -

VIR­GINIA BEACH, Va. - In a sour­ing econ­omy, en­roll­ment in pri­vate schools is drop­ping.

South Hamp­ton Roads, with dozens of Ro­man Catholic, Jewish and Protes­tant-run schools, has been es­pe­cially vul­ner­a­ble to the trend.

At Gate­way Chris­tian School, where tu­ition is about $4,000, en­roll­ment will de­cline around 10 per­cent this fall.

“Ob­vi­ously, it’s just tough times” for par­ents, said prin­ci­pal Sam Postle­waite. “Ei­ther job wages haven’t gone up, or the cost of ev­ery­thing else is go­ing up.”

At Nor­folk Chris­tian Schools, aca­demic dean Jane Duf­fey said she’s seen a 20 per­cent in­crease in re­quests for ad­di­tional fi­nan­cial aid. En­roll­ment is down about 2 per­cent from last year’s 750 stu­dents.

Tu­ition at Nor­folk ranges from $6,300 in ele­men­tary grades to $8,700 in the se­nior year.

At St. Pius X Catholic School, Sis­ter Linda Taber, the school prin­ci­pal, said en­roll­ment is steady but there is greater de­mand for schol­ar­ships. Tu­ition at St. Pius ranges from $3,600 for in-parish stu­dents to $5,100 for out-of-parish stu­dents.

“We have had peo­ple say their work hours have been cut. It’s hard times,” Taber said.

At He­brew Academy of Tide­wa­ter, where an­nual tu­ition is about $10,000, the school fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer, Heather Moore, said she’s seen a big in­crease in re­quests for tu­ition as­sis­tance.

“I’m hear­ing a lot that a spouse has lost their job, they’ll have to live on one in­come for a while,” Moore said. “I’m see­ing more of that than in the last 10 years.” Dalai Lama fasts for peace from hospi­tal bed MUM­BAI, In­dia - The Dalai Lama par­tic­i­pated in a 12-hour fast for peace in Ti­bet on Satur­day from his hospi­tal bed in west­ern In­dia, his spokesman said.

The ex­iled Ti­betan spir­i­tual leader was un­able to join nearly 2,000 Ti­betan ex­iles fast­ing in his tem­ple in Dharm­sala, the north­ern In­dian head­quar­ters of the Ti­betan gov­ern­ment-in-ex­ile, and in­stead held his own fast, spokesman Ten­zin Takla told The As­so­ci­ated Press.

The Dalai Lama, 73, flew to Mum­bai, In­dia’s fi­nan­cial cap­i­tal, on Thurs­day and was ad­mit­ted to Lilavati Hospi­tal for tests for ab­dom­i­nal dis­com­fort. He is likely to leave the hospi­tal in a day or two, the spokesman said.

The Bud­dhist fig­ure’s sup­port­ers joined in the fast Satur­day in Dharm­sala and prayed for his long life.

“The 12-hour fast­ing is to over­come and ease con­flict and suf­fer- ing in the world and par­tic­u­larly for free­dom and jus­tice of the peo­ple of Ti­bet and China,” said a ban­ner strung out­side the tem­ple.

A state­ment by his of­fice on Fri­day said doc­tors “have given as­sur­ances that there is ab­so­lutely no cause for con­cern. All that he needs is a good rest.”

He had just re­turned to In­dia from an 11-day visit to France, cap­ping an in­tense few months since ri­ots against Chi­nese rule broke out in March in the Ti­betan cap­i­tal, Lhasa, and a sub­se­quent gov­ern­ment crack­down. Catholics fight­ing Wash. sui­cide ini­tia­tive SEAT­TLE - Catholic churches in Wash­ing­ton are col­lect­ing do­na­tions to fight Ini­tia­tive 1000, the as­sisted sui­cide mea­sure on the Novem­ber bal­lot.

A spokesman for the Arch­dio­cese of Seat­tle, Greg Magnoni (man-YOHN’-ee), says Alex Brunett and two other bish­ops have au­tho­rized 290 parishes in Wash­ing­ton to take up a col­lec­tion for the Coali­tion Against As­sisted Sui­cide.

Also called the “Death with Dig­nity” ini­tia­tive, the mea­sure would al­low ter­mi­nally ill peo­ple to legally ob­tain lethal pre­scrip­tion drugs for end­ing their own lives. It’s pat­terned af­ter Ore­gon’s as­sisted sui­cide law.

Texas AG says Bi­ble cour­ses not manda­tory for schools AUSTIN, Texas - Texas high schools are not re­quired to of­fer elec­tive high school Bi­ble cour­ses un­der a new law adopted by the state last year, At­tor­ney Gen­eral Greg Ab­bott said.

The Leg­is­la­ture passed a law last year al­low­ing for Bi­ble cour­ses to be of­fered as an elec­tive start­ing in the 2009-2010 school year.

Law­mak­ers di­rected the State Board of Ed­u­ca­tion to adopt cur­ricu­lum stan­dards in line with the con­sti­tu­tional sep­a­ra­tion of church and state.

But be­cause of ques­tions about whether a school district was re­quired to of­fer the class, Ed­u­ca­tion Com­mis­sioner Robert Scott asked Ab­bott for an opin­ion.

Ab­bott’s of­fice said Aug. 28 that the new law “au­tho­rizes but does not re­quire school dis­tricts and char­ter schools to of­fer” the Bi­ble course.

Law­mak­ers adopted the mea­sure with an as­sur­ance the class would only fo­cus on the his­tory and lit­er­a­ture of the Bi­ble, and not evan­ge­lize for or dis­par­age any faith. It also re­quired the at­tor­ney gen­eral to re­view the cur­ricu­lum.

Ac­cord­ing to the law, the elec­tive Bi­ble course aims to ex­pose stu­dents to bib­li­cal con­tent and char­ac­ters as key to un­der­stand­ing con­tem­po­rary so­ci­ety and cul­ture, in­clud­ing lit­er­a­ture, art, mu­sic, ora­tory and pub­lic pol­icy.

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