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‘Fill the Seats’ campaign offers aid to middle-income families

With declining enrollment, financial difficulties and limited resources, the challenges faced by Catholic schools can seem insurmountable, said Elias Moo, superintendent of Catholic Schools.

“But in spite of this reality, I would argue that now more than ever the world needs our schools, especially in a modern cultural context that has deviated sharply away from God and is more and more consumed by secularism and relativism,” he said.

To help our Catholic schools grow, the Schmitz Family Foundation is launching the “Fill the Seats” campaign, which will allow schools to provide school scholarships for middle-income families.

Together with ACE (Alliance for Choice in Education) Scholarships, the Schmitz Family Foundation provides more than $2.5 million each year in scholarships to students attending local Catholic schools. The foundation has committed an additional $500,000 to launch “Fill the Seats,” and ACE will also increase funding.

Pastors and principals will be responsible for recruiting families and students who are a good fit for their school.

Annie McBournie of the Schmitz Family Foundation spoke to school principals and business managers on April 11 about why families deserve the opportunity to choose Catholic schools.

“Our families are so happy at our schools,” said McBournie. “They feel they have input at our schools. They feel safe; they feel like they are heard.”

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McBournie explained that Catholic schools spend 222 more hours a year in the classroom than Colorado public schools, which is due to slightly longer school days and less days spent testing students.

“Our ACT scores are three points higher across the board than the Colorado average,” she said. “The Schmitz students are three points higher in English and reading and they’re over two points higher in math and science.”

Those statistics are appealing to families, and Moo believes “Fill the Seats” will give as many as possible the chance take advantage of what a Catholic education can offer.

“We do not want finances to be an obstacle for families who wish to give their children an excellent Catholic education,” said Moo.

Normally, low income families receive the majority of scholarships and tuition assistance, but this one is different, he added.

“We’re glad this campaign will allow our schools to provide new scholarships to middle-income, working families who, perhaps in the past, have fallen outside of scholarship income thresholds.”

Moo is excited the Schmitz Family Foundation is playing a key part in helping our schools flourish.

“We’re very grateful to the Schmitz Family Foundation for their desire and willingness to strengthen our Catholic school communities,” he said.

Featured image by Andrew Wright

Editor’s note: An earlier edition of this story referenced the wrong organization working with the Schmitz Family Foundation. The ACE organization referred to is the Alliance for Choice in Education. The story has been updated to reflect this.


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