LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - New efforts to make Catholic elementary schools more accessible and affordable were announced on Thursday by Louisville Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz and the president of the Catholic Education Foundation. These efforts are expected to double the amount of tuition assistance available for families in need to more than $3 million annually.
"It's a new day for families who may be thinking about a Catholic elementary school but are unsure if it is financially possible for them," said Kurtz.
The archbishop highlighted four elements of the archdiocesan plan:
New investment in Catholic schools: Pastors and laity have identified Catholic school education as a priority need in the archdiocese. In light of this, every Catholic parish will be supporting a new funding mechanism to provide a voucher program for Catholic parishioners that will provide more than $1 million in new tuition assistance.
Option for the poor: A special outreach to families of any faith with significant financial challenges is being launched. Families with a household income less than 200 percent of the poverty level will receive a $1,000 tuition discount on Catholic elementary school tuition at any Catholic elementary school. This tuition assistance can, and will, in many cases, be augmented by additional financial assistance from the Catholic Education Foundation and other sources, according to the archdiocese.
State tax credits: Through the Catholic Conference of Kentucky (CCK) and in partnership with the Catholic Education Foundation, the archdiocese is strengthening advocacy efforts to pass a statewide business tax credit program for the state of Kentucky. It will benefit both public and non-public schools. Additional staff within CCK will be advancing this effort.
Specialized structures: New school models will be designed to serve specific communities within the archdiocese with particular language, cultural or educational needs. Grants from the archdiocese will be made available to assist with the initial costs.
Richard Lechleiter, president of the Catholic Education Foundation (CEF), discussed the CEF's expanding role in helping make Catholic schools more affordable for families.
"This fall, thanks to so many of our generous donors, we awarded nearly $1.7 million of tuition assistance to 1,476 Catholic elementary school students in the archdiocese, shattering last year's record of more than $1.3 million for 1,330 students," said Lechleiter. "The foundation is now assisting over one in 10 of our elementary school students, and next year we will do even more. Today we are thrilled to announce a new goal of $2 million in Catholic elementary schools tuition assistance for the fall of 2015. We can't wait!"
The new tuition assistance opportunities will be available for the 2015-2016 school year.
Forty-six Catholic schools serve more than 19,300 students in six counties of central Kentucky. 13,200 students attend 37 elementary schools.
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