Tough economy hits Christian and private schools
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.