The following comes from a February 4 Press Enterprise article by Stephen Wall:
As they celebrate Catholic Schools Week running through Saturday, February 6, leaders of the Diocese of San Bernardino are trying to bolster enrollment by courting parents dissatisfied by the public school system.
In the Inland area and statewide, nine of 10 Catholic children go to public schools. The Diocese, which serves about 1.6 million Catholics across Riverside and San Bernardino counties, has 7,548 students in its three high schools, 24 elementary schools and three preschools. Total enrollment has fallen more than 14 percent since 2003-2004.
A report from the bishops released this week, “Our Catholic Schools in California: A Stellar Past, A Robust Future,” recommends making Catholic schools more desirable, accessible and affordable for Latino families, who comprise almost three-fourths of the Diocese.
Despite their numbers, many Latinos don’t enroll their kids in Catholic school because they view it as cost prohibitive, elitist and unwelcoming, the report states.
The diocese hired Delila Vasquez in July 2014 to build enrollment by reaching out to Spanish-speaking families who attend church throughout San Bernardino but don’t know the area has Catholic schools.
She meets individually with interested parents to work out a tuition plan they can afford based on their income and expenses. Nearly half of Holy Rosary students get scholarships from $400 to $1,000 through the Catholic Education Foundation.
The diocese gives out about $3.3 million a year in financial aid including scholarships, tuition discounts and deferred tuition payments in case of a job loss or other emergency.