Catholic School Kids Hurt by Katrina Need Aid, Panel Hears

Louisiana Superintendent Testifies at U.S. Senate Hearing

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry

WASHINGTON, D.C., SEPT. 22, 2005 ( Catholic school children affected by Hurricane Katrina need help to continue their schooling, the superintendent of schools of the Baton Rouge Diocese told a U.S. Senate subcommittee.

«A scholarship or ‘an equal entitlement certificate’ will allow the displaced families to place their children in nonpublic schools similar to their former schools» while families rebuild their lives, said Dominican Sister Michaeline Green, who heads the Baton Rouge Catholic schools and chairs the Non-public School Commission of the Louisiana Department of Education.

Families need these certificates to reimburse schools for expenses they have accrued and will continue to accrue, she told the Senate panel today.

«Funding is needed to hire additional teachers and aides, provide additional classrooms and transportation, not to mention added janitorial expenses and utilities,» Sister Green added.

She highlighted the high percentage of the state’s students in non-public schools.

«Louisiana has a unique situation in that one-third of all students attend non-public schools compared to the national average of 11%.» she said in her testimony .

«In four of the severely impacted counties around New Orleans, approximately 61,000 students of the 187,000 total student population attend non-public schools from pre-K to grade 12,» the Dominican religious said. «Most of these students come from low- to middle-income families who are making a great financial sacrifice to send their children to a school of their choice for academic, religious and safety reasons.»

In the Diocese of Baton Rouge, Catholic school enrollment increased by almost 25% due to Hurricane Katrina, she said. In the neighboring Diocese of Shreveport, the Catholic school enrollment rose by more than 26%.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry


Support ZENIT

If you liked this article, support ZENIT now with a donation