From private to public school: Economy forces parents to rethink education options

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As more parents lose their jobs, many are forced to balance their checkbooks by pulling their children out of private schools and sending them to public school. The transfer hurts some private schools.

As more parents lose their jobs, many are forced to balance their checkbooks by pulling their children out of private schools and sending them to public school. The transfer hurts some private schools.

Karen Jackson, 29, lost her administrative assistant job last July and has yet to find another job. In January, she transferred her 12-year-old daughter from Evangelical Christian School, 9130 S. Vincennes Ave., to Wendell Smith Elementary School, 744 E. 103rd St., a public school, because she could no longer afford the $1,650 annual tuition.

“I am a single parent and my only source of income is unemployment (benefits). I was not able to save any money and kept moving things around to keep her in a private school,” Jackson told the Defender. “In the end, I could not afford to keep making sacrifices so I transferred her to a school close to home so I would not have to spend money giving her bus fare.”

Jackson is not alone, as many parents have been forced to take their kids out of private school since the economy tanked.

Even the slightest decrease in enrollment can be life or death for some private schools. For Luther South High School, 3130 W. 87th St., low enrollment could mean closing the school.

“We should know in the next two weeks if this will be our last year open,” said Anthony Rainey, principal of Luther South. “We are on a financial life support system.”

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In photo: Paul Adams III, president of Providence St. Mel school

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