Parents voice anger over tuition rate changes coming to inner city Catholic schools

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Some parents are angry and demand answers after they say a heated meeting didn't allow for questions regarding new tuition rates at area Catholic schools.

A big tuition hike is affecting several local Catholic schools, and some parents are angry and demanding answers.

The superintendent of Catholic schools, Dr. Julie Vogel, said it has been more than 45 years since tuition fees were raised. She said in order to provide a good education, they need to make major changes.

Lily Reyes and parents of 12 inner city Catholic schools within the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston will soon have to pay up. However, the problem is, some were not ready for it.

"I was not prepared for that 60-percent increase; neither were many other parents," said Reyes.

An informational meeting Tuesday night at Our Lady of Guadalupe was supposed to go off without a hitch.

"We introduced our new transformational model," said Dr. Vogel. "We built a sliding scale based on parent adjusted gross income."

A video explaining why the following 12 inner city Catholic school fees for the next school year would go up was shown to parents.

    901 Roselane St, Houston, TX 77037

    Holy Ghost
    6921 Chetwood Dr, Houston, TX 77081

    Our Lady of Fatima, Galena Park
    1705 8th St, Galena Park, TX 77547

    Our Lady of Guadalupe
    2405 Navigation Blvd, Houston, TX 77003

    Our Lady of Mt. Carmel
    6723 Whitefriars Dr, Houston, TX 77087

    Queen of Peace
    3011 Telephone Rd Houston, TX 77023

    915 Zoe St, Houston, TX 77020

    St. Augustine
    5560 Laurel Creek Way, Houston, TX 77017

    St. Christopher
    8150 Park Place Blvd, Houston, TX 77017

    St. Mary of Purification
    3006 Rosedale St, Houston, TX 77004

    St. Peter of Apostle
    6220 La Salette St, Houston, TX 77021

    St. Pius V
    824 South Main St, Pasadena, TX 77506

However many parents who had already paid enrollment fees for the 2016-2017 school year had questions.

"We don't have enough time to seek other schools because the registration dates have already passed," said Reyes.

The meeting that night got heated and tensions flared.

"(The superintendent) she was talking to everyone in a degrading tone," said Davida Mouton, parent.

Davida Mouton claims the superintendent, Dr. Vogel, singled her out when she tried to ask a question.

"She blatantly said hand up, it doesn't matter; you don't belong to this community," said Mouton.

"There were too many people and not enough microphones, not enough time to answer," said Dr. Vogel.

In a statement to Mouton's claim Dr. Vogel said:

"I put my hand up when she started yelling and got loud enough that she was drowning out the parents' questions that we were trying to answer. When I put my hand up, I said to her, 'You are not part of this conversation, I am trying to answer questions.' I am sorry she misunderstood the situation, but the situation was very chaotic. People were yelling questions, there was a lot going on and the principal and I were attempting to answer the questions that we could. To be clear, she never had a question, she was just yelling about the tuition being lower at St. Francis."

The superintendent said the archdiocese has already lost too many good teachers to better salaries and said enrollment is down.

However, parents said the diocese is enforcing this new model without giving them enough time to decide their children's educational fate.

"We want a meeting where teachers and parents can voice their concerns," said Reyes.
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