September 27, 2010

Religion and Profit

I happened into a conversation with the principal of my children's school.   They attend a private catholic school in I guess what you would call a smaller inner city.   There are only about 400 -450 students which makes for about 200-225 families-ish.

The school is not overly expensive - we pay under $800 per month for both of them to attend.  For the most part I love the school.   We did not choose it for the religious aspects as we as a family rarely (okay never) go to any organized church.   It is more because the faculty really seem to care about the students and I liked their approach to teaching/reading.  Also very small class sizes.  I do think it is important that the kids have a religious background.  I as a child went to CCD but my parents never went to church so neither did us kids.  My hubby's family was a "church" family but 1) He got kicked out because he baked pot into some brownies for a fund raising event and 2) Hubby's dad was cheating on the mom with a member of the church choir.  Okay - so much for being all pious.

I was at the school this summer with Z-Toad who I felt would benefit from having some extra reading / grammar /phonics over the summer.   During some of these visits the principal would come sit with me to chat while I waited for him.   Up until that point I was quit sure she had no use for me.   You know the type of person that one day says "Hi" to you but the next time you see them you could be buck naked covered in honey and they would walk past with not so much as a nod?   That is her.   I like her - she is everything a principal should be - and when I am around her I feel like I am back in school again myself.   Smile and nod is my motto.  Sometimes my mouth totally ignores my brain yelling at it to stop.  Safer to just smile.

During one particular conversation we were talking about the economy.  She said that the school was actually not full for the coming year and they were still "woo'ing" outside students.  That conversation turned to the tuition, how it was pretty reasonable, and that over 50% of the students get some sort of financial aid.   Hmph - really?   The financial aid form is riddled with "place of worship" questions so I am guessing money would not be tossed in our direction.

THEN she says how last year there were at least 40 - FORTY!! - families that came to her and couldn't pay their tuition cause of lost jobs/income.   Now I thought - god, that is awful - I would hate to be in that position.  So I make what I thought was a safe comment, "That would be terrible to have to pull your kids out of their school."

She says "Oh, I don't tell them to leave."   I really really really had to bite my lips, tongue, AND cheeks to keep from saying..... "SAY WHAT???"      I know it is sad - really, really, REALLY I do get it.   So after some awkward silence she says "When I get to those pearly gates, I am not going to have to answer for kicking kids out."  Honestly  I said nothing - every business/entrepreneurial/conservative bone in my body was slowly shattering.  

First - Is that the WORSE thing she has to explain for when she dies?   Dear God - I am So. Very. Screwed.
Secondly - The school is still a business, right? There are costs involved.   Forty families I would think make up at least 20% of the school.  Yikes!!!  What number family is the tipping point?  I bet the teachers wouldn't stay if they didn't get a paycheck.     

Isn't it possible that god also understands a profit margin??



Grimmgirl said...

I understand how some families may need the support and may occasionally need to slide, but it seems that the school should have special fund set aside for such emergencies. Maybe they do. If I were you, I would be upset about being one of the families that DOES pay. Those families are essentially carrying the others. It only seems natural that after a while the quality of instruction/materials may begin to slide if the school is forced to reallocate funds because some families can't pay. I wouldn't want to be the principal!

Anonymous said...

I wonder if they get a tax write off for the non-payers or something. I don't see how they can stay open if they let people attend and not pay. It doesn't seem fair to those that are paying full tuition.

Tracie said...

Good points! I don't know if they have a special fund. I would think she would have said something given the utter look of shock on my face!

The BIG question is if those families were allowed to enroll for this school year if they couldn't pay last year??

Crazy Brunette said...

I'm with you hooker!

Thats a terrible situation to go through and you'd hope that something could be done if you were in that position....

BUT... WHAT THE FUCK? YOU still have to pay your fucking tuition every goddamn month!!!!

Hmmm, I think I'm going to try the buck naked and covered in honey next time I'm feeling a little frisky...