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Catholic schools remain faithful to their mission

Financing a private education can be a huge expense, especially in times of economic hardship. But Kelle and Bill McCann of Syracuse knew they wanted their son to attend a Catholic school, so when it was time for him to begin pre-K, they enrolled Dylan in the program offered at St. Rose of Lima in North Syracuse.

"We wanted him to have a good foundation in faith and we felt a Catholic school would be the best place for him to get it," Kelle McCann said.

That's one of the top reasons families choose Catholic over public education, according to Syracuse Diocese Superintendent of Schools Christopher Mominey.

"Families should consider Catholic education for several reasons," he said, listing that students will be introduced and come to know Jesus Christ, they'll be challenged to grow to maturity in an environment where self discipline is paramount, and because Catholic schools nationwide have a proven record of academic success.

"Time and time again our students outperform their public school peers in state testing and the like," Mominey said.

The seven-county diocese provides education to 7,000 students in 26 schools, of which Onondaga County is home to 13. Mominey said it's too soon to tell if the economic downturn has made an impact on enrollment, but tuition did rise $275 for the upcoming school year.

"The increase was lower than was anticipated," he said. "We recognized the needs of our families, the economic situation and the realities of finances and we decided to make this minimal increase rather than a higher one."

In addition to and in light of the economy, Mominey said Bishop James Moynihan contributed another $150,000 of financial aid over the $500,000 already awarded via Hope Appeal.

"We did everything we could to assure that the tuition increase would not have an impact on enrollment," Mominey added, noting that the diocese continues to work collaboratively to find sustainable solutions that allow the schools to remain faithful to their mission.

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