LANSING (WILX)-- A local catholic school is seeing its best enrollment numbers in 25 years. Lansing Catholic High School welcomed their biggest freshman class since 1989 on Monday.
"We have some new students, some new families, and some new faculty members. It's just a lot of excitement all around," said Tom Maloney, Principal and President of Advancement for Lansing Catholic.
Each year Lansing Catholic has to compete with the School-of-Choice program, and the fact that private schools cost more.
Maloney says he feels "thankful and blessed" that 166 freshman families have decided to pay the private school tuition. The turnout this year was more than expected.
"Families continue to choose our school knowing that they have to pay a tuition. That is a financial sacrifice for every single one of our families."
Maloney says families are feeling more confident as the economy improves. The school has also increased it's tuition assistance program over the years, making it easier for families to afford the private school.
There's a lot of hard work behind the increase. Maloney and others from the school have been working with this years freshman since they were in the fourth grade.
"We draw from about ten different K-8 catholic grade schools, and their enrollments are up. Their enrollment up translates to our enrollment up," said Maloney.
Lansing public schools don't expect to see a big enrollment increase like Lansing Catholic, but administrators don't expect enrollment to go down either.
"I'm hearing we're expecting to be consistent with enrollment this year," sai d Chuck Alberts, President of Lansing Schools Education Association.
The Lansing school district starts their 2013-2014 year on Sept. 4th. Alberts says, based on early enrollment estimates he expects fewer families will be using the school-of-choice option. He credits some of this to the district increasingly creating specialty programs and academies that focus on specific programs.