Second Catholic school having troubles

May 2, 2008 5:06:27 PM PDT
Last week the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston said it was closing Mount Carmel High School, pointing to low enrollment there. Now another school, Our Lady of Lourdes School, has run into money problems.

The school in Hitchcock has more than 100 students enrolled this year, but school officials say they're short of funds for next year with only 40 students enrolled so far.

Since 1964, Our Lady of Lourdes Elementary School has offered a private school education at an affordable price.

Faced with declining enrollment, a huge financial shortfall threatens to close the school's doors. A disappointment for Carrie Maxwell who hoped her five-year-old would grow up in the same school she did.

"I'm devastated, it's where you can't decide what to do with your child," she said.

It's the second school in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston to show signs of trouble in as many days. A spokesperson for the archdiocese could not say if other Catholics schools in the area are facing problems.

In a statement, the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston communications director Claudia Deschamps said:

"Each school has strengths and challenges that depend on factors such as location and enrollment. All parties are cooperating in order to implement any modifications that can benefit the operations of Our Lady of Lourdes Elementary School in the future."

Some Catholic schools in Houston are thriving and have waiting lists.

A better picture of the state of Catholic schools in Houston may be coming. The archdiocese recently began an independent study taking a look at how Catholic schools in this area are doing.

Little comfort for parents who fear the attention may be too late for the school.

"The diocese has to help us, they have to help our children," pleaded concerned parent Brenna Thiem.

Students and parents face the end of school year and possibly the end their school community.

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