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Lemont Private Schools See Boost in Inquiries, Transfers

Everest Academy, SS. Cyril & Methodius, St. Alphonsus/St. Patrick's and the Lemont Montessori School all report an increase in parent interest over the past year.

Updated — 11:20 a.m.

All four of the private elementary schools in Lemont report seeing an increase this year in parents interested in learning more about their programs, as well as greater attendance at open house events.

The schools, which include Everest Academy, Montessori School of Lemont, St. Alphonsus/St. Patrick School and SS. Cyril & Methodius School, have also seen an increase in mid-year transfer students during the 2010-2011 school year.

“It’s been absolutely crazy,” said Therese Colby, administrator of i, which has welcomed ten new students to its primary and elementary programs since January. “Our enrollment is up, our prospective parent coffees have been really busy, and we’ve had a lot of interest in our elementary program.”

Renee Payne, principal at , said her school has also seen an uptick in parent inquiries.

“We’ve definitely had more people who are interested this year,” she said. “With the economy being what it is, I think people are looking for different options.”

Payne said one reason parents have been attracted to the school is because of the “extras” offered both in the classroom and after school.

“We offer a wide variety of after-school activities, from athletics to art to chess club, to meet a variety of needs,” she said.  

In conjunction with Catholic Schools Week, the three Catholic schools in Lemont all held open house events on January 30.

“Our open house was an incredible success,” said Shirley Tkachuk, principal at .

For the first time, the school held its open house on a Sunday right after the 10:30 a.m. mass, and had many more attendees than in previous years.

Tkachuk noted that she has had interest from a broad range of families, including the church’s own parishioners, those new to the area, and families whose children are currently in the public school system. She said she believes parents are attracted to the school because of its strong faith-based activities, commitment to serving others, strong integration of technology in the classroom and professional development of teachers.

, which moved into its new facility on Bell Road in 2007, has seen a similar surge in interest this year.

“Families tell us that they really like our smaller classrooms and the personal attention that we give to our students,” said Natalia Blecka, marketing coordinator at Everest.

About 20 families with multiple children attended their open house, and Blecka said enrollment is definitely picking up this year. The school, which has about 95 students, enrolled 14 new students in January, including some who moved to the area and others transferring from Lemont and Homer Glen schools.

 “With the economy, a lot of schools are seeing larger class sizes,” Blecka said. “When they come here, people are surprised to see that we have personal attention [for each student] — that’s hard to find these days.”

Everest, St. Al’s/St. Pat’s and SS. Cyril each offer some form of financial assistance and multiple-child discounts.

“We know that some families struggle, but we’ve found that many people are willing to sacrifice to send their children here,” Payne said.

Despite the reported increase in private school inquiries, officials in Lemont-Bromberek Combined School District 113A said enrollment has held steady this year. In August, 2,498 students were enrolled in kindergarten through eighth grade. As of Feb. 14, enrollment was 2,498.

"As you can see from the data, our anticipated projected enrollment in congruent with our current data and we have not experienced any exodus of enrollment during this school year," District 113A Superintendent Tim Ricker said. "Know that this data could change as the economy takes an upturn or if housing development once again prospers here in Lemont."

Ricker indicated that there was no correlation between District 113A's enrollment patterns this year and the increase in private school interest, but commended area schools for their pursuit of academic excellence.

"We congratulate our colleagues in private education on their role in educating all of our children in the Lemont community," he said. "We work together in a number of ways with our colleagues to help to provide parents with a choice on how and what their children learn as they grow and prosper in Lemont."

Editor's Note: BJ Marshall has children who attend the Lemont Montessori School.

Jennifer Albrecht March 02, 2011 at 03:09 AM
Tom, my mother (that "over-paid (at 30 a year) college professor) would say you're talking just to hear your head rattle. I finally understand what she was talking about. Now, really, you think our teachers, fire department, police department are over paid. Do you not think these things are worthy of a less than living wage? "Total emploment costs must come down" How much do you get paid, Tom? Do you work for someone? Or are you self employed? If you work for someone, )perhaps they should know how much time you spend on the Patch (and I'll assume other) websites during your working hours. Perhaps you are not worth what you are being paid and that should be addressed. Just saying... <hugs>
Susan Antonoff March 02, 2011 at 03:10 AM
Bravo, Gary.
Tom Klimczak March 02, 2011 at 03:10 AM
Ok. Since you have all the facts, I'd love some: Is the $20 million the gross or the net proceeds of this bond issue? What is the projected annual debt service costs per year for this bond issue? Conversely what are the projected annual tax receipts from this bond issue? What fees are going to be incurred in the process of getting this bond issue to market? Were there three bids for the contract to market and sell these bonds? Who were those bidders? Do we have any assurance that the bond proceeds will not displace funds already earmarked in one part of the ledger into another? Will the district be in better or worse financial condition at the end of this debt excursion? These are not available on the website. Only the selling points are. Give me some facts, please.
Susan Antonoff March 02, 2011 at 03:11 AM
Is there an industry, business, or faction whose largest percentage of budget isn't employee cost?
Tom Klimczak March 02, 2011 at 03:15 AM
Oh, come on. What is it with you apologists for government spending? There can never be any reduction in expenditure without this hyperbole, this wailing and gnashing of teeth. I only advocate a small wage reduction and/or an increase in copays or lifetime benefits, plus the replacement of the defined benefit pension plan with something more affordable to the district. Administrative personnel need also be under the same constraints, with a small headcount reduction in that area. It's not huge, but the savings will add up quickly and will make the proceeds from this bond issue go so much farther.
Susan Antonoff March 02, 2011 at 03:16 AM
So what is fair....you seem to suggest without research...Make me an offer.
Tom Klimczak March 02, 2011 at 03:19 AM
Aww, you're cute, Jen. <hugs> I love the unbridled character assassination hurled in my direction that I have read on this page today. It speaks volumes about those who wrote it. I know. How dare anyone dissent. Debate must be crushed. Assault the messenger if you can't debate the issues. Sad, really.
Susan Antonoff March 02, 2011 at 03:19 AM
Tom, either is a dollar a day out of your pocket to pass this referendum to support the children of Lemont.
Tom Klimczak March 02, 2011 at 03:21 AM
I'm sure we could come to an agreement. Just need to keep talking and keep all options on the table.
Susan Antonoff March 02, 2011 at 03:22 AM
Tom, look in the mirror.
Tom Klimczak March 02, 2011 at 03:23 AM
Sue, the germane fact is the near bankruptcy of the district and the kids losing everything just so that the spending in the untouchable areas can continue. This thing is going to pass. It will not solve everything, but it will pass.
Tom Klimczak March 02, 2011 at 03:25 AM
I have not assaulted anyone's character on this page. I assault arguments, yes. I speak only about the financial issues and my arguments on that level are hard to tear down. I understand that. However, I don't try and shut people up because they have another viewpoint.
Gary Gray March 02, 2011 at 03:26 AM
We are all typing at once. Tomorrow, I will inquire to answer Tom's questions about the referendum bond issue. They were actually very good.
Jennifer Albrecht March 02, 2011 at 03:26 AM
Tom, enough of the "cute quips" <hugs> and bullet points. I am cute, and I don't need any affirmation from you.I also don't appreciate the condescending attitude. From what you have posted, I gather you have a strong dislike for any public sector jobs, we're all just out to steal your millions. I get it. You are obviously against any money coming into the community through local means to help our district. I get that too. But your post are all over the place. If you're hoping to garner support against the referendum, really, I think you are failing. Perhaps a more stable approach is what would help your cause.
Susan Antonoff March 02, 2011 at 03:27 AM
You seem to be getting some kind of self satisfaction from this blog. If you've got unanswered questions, that no one with the "intellectual" capabilities or caliber of "thinking" you have, can help you here, please direct your questions to Dr. Ricker or any of the BoE members. They can be contacted through the district web site. Perhaps they can help straighten up matters for you. It just seems to me you don't want to ask/challenge the people who have the answers you ask in such a clever way.
Tom Klimczak March 02, 2011 at 03:29 AM
Bravo, Gary. That it definietly beerworthy.
Jennifer Albrecht March 02, 2011 at 03:29 AM
Tom is sounding very "sheen-esque" <worry for Tom>
Susan Antonoff March 02, 2011 at 03:30 AM
Again, all talk and no answers...? Everything I knew you'd be.
Susan Antonoff March 02, 2011 at 03:31 AM
Good night. Even Lucifer had a heart.
Tom Klimczak March 02, 2011 at 03:31 AM
I already asked, Sue. They did not have the answers to those questions. I was impressed with the presentation. Really I was. It did much to reduce my opposition to this referendum. The sticking point was the need to slow the growth in employee costs. Do you have any idea how to do that?
Susan Antonoff March 02, 2011 at 03:32 AM
I thought that too! You ARE hilarious!
Tom Klimczak March 02, 2011 at 03:36 AM
I'm sure you are. I have a strong dislike for the untouchability of the public sector. This group is somehow not to be afflicted by the tides of financial cycles, they only are to grow. That's all. I'm not being mean or vindictive in any way. I see every agency in Lemont enduring this now. The Park District, even the public works department. Those guys and gals worked their collective patookus off when feet of snow snow piled up all over town and we can't pay 'em. That stinks, but it's indicative of the current state of affairs. If there's anything I hate, that is it. Surprised?
Tom Klimczak March 02, 2011 at 03:37 AM
Bwahahahahahahahaha. Nice. I know, anyone who challenges the established order is nuts. Right.
Jennifer Albrecht March 02, 2011 at 03:37 AM
Thank you Sue! I AM hilarious! Screw Tom, I'll buy you a beer :-)
Tom Klimczak March 02, 2011 at 03:38 AM
Sue. I have at least made suggestions. What is your answer to this long term problem?
Jennifer Albrecht March 02, 2011 at 03:42 AM
Gee Whiz Tom, if there is anyone who challenges the system, it is I. But your "pitiful me" routine is tired. And old. And quite frankly, I'm sure you have very good intentions but there is the idea of getting more bees with honey. It has nothing to do with "challenging the establishment" but has everything to do with your delivery.
Tom Klimczak March 02, 2011 at 03:45 AM
I draw the line at beers. I will not 'take one for the team', as it were.
Tom Klimczak March 02, 2011 at 03:45 AM
How would you reduce those costs? Should they not be looked at at all?
martin finn March 02, 2011 at 04:31 AM
Tom-I must also heap disparagement at your reasoning. When voters see the simple question on the ballot"Do you support $20,000,000.00 working bond issue for school district 113A?" Yes or No? This thing is dead in the water. Just my prediction, bet a root beer on it.
Tom Klimczak March 02, 2011 at 05:43 PM
I dunno about that. Past votes have pretty much followed that pattern. I wonder what would be different if any of them passed. The administration's past behavior at their former employers indicates that the spending would have even blown past that in the quest for more. All kidding and cuteness aside, the district is in a real pickle right now. No denying this. Yes the budget is balanced. I wonder how close to budget the expenses and revenues have been tracking. I still think that folks are stirred up enough so that the majority of the minority who vote will vote yes.

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