Photo: Tyler Sizemore / Hearst Connecticut Media
GREENWICH — One-hundred percent of the extra money collected from an upcoming tuition hike will be used to increase faculty salaries and hire new staff at Greenwich Catholic School, the school’s board of directors announced.
The school will also help large families offset the higher costs with steeper sibling discounts for the 2019-2020 school year, the board said.
Greenwich Catholic announced the 10 percent tuition increase in early February, 75 percent of which was slated to fund new positions and increase salaries for teachers and administrators, who make less those who work in public schools.
The announcement was met with mixed reactions from parents: Some hailed it as a signal that the school would adequately compensate its teachers, who make significantly less than their public- and private-school counterparts; others said the increase will hurt large Catholic families the most who cannot afford private-school tuition prices.
“We are listening, and continually seek feedback from the parent community to inform next steps,” Greenwich Catholic Board Chair Mario Gaztambide said. “Greenwich Catholic School is about all of us, and the mission of the school is the foundation of all that we do here.”
Greenwich Catholic, which currently enrolls 414 students, has undergone many changes over the last year, beginning with the inauguration of the Board of Directors on July 1. The board includes Bishop Frank Caggiano and Superintendent of Schools Steven Cheeseman, both of the Diocese of Bridgeport, school principal Patrice Kopas and Greenwich Catholic parents and alumni.
The switch represents the diocese’s attempt to empower lay people to have a greater say in a school’s strategic planning.
Ten months after the board took over, its members met with parents Wednesday to discuss changes over the 2018-19 year and plans for the future. Gaztambide announced Wednesday that 100 percent of the tuition hike from $12,200 to $13,500 per year will go toward increasing teacher compensation and hiring additional teachers and administrators.
“We are compelled to compensate the people who mold our children every day more equitably,” he said.
The school will add an assistant principal to oversee program delivery and assessments, a dean of students for overseeing and improving student life, a Spanish teacher for the lower school and a math teacher for the upper school, Kopas said.
Since the announcement, 95 percent of the families have re-enrolled for fall. Currently, each family gets a $500 discount for each additional child enrolled at the school. But for the 2019-20 school year, the discount will increase to $1,000 per additional child for families that are participating members of a parish in the diocese.
Families that are involved with a parish in the diocese also qualify for a $1,000 diocesan tuition grant.
This year, the board implemented curriculum updates, added a guidance counselor, started an annual service day, introduced online enrollment and made upgrades to the school security system. The school underwent an organizational audit and an assessment of how it pays its staff.
“Like any organization, we are constantly evolving,” Gaztambide said during the Wednesday meeting. “We celebrate our strengths and recognize the areas where we can grow and improve — always for the benefit of our students, now and in the future.”
Information about Greenwich Catholic School’s Governance Structure, Curriculum Scope and Sequence, and Tuition Schedule can be found online at gcsct.org.