Parents have different reasons why they pay for their children to attend a private school rather than enrolling them at a public school.
Some parents are attracted by the small classroom setting private schools can offer. Both Hanford Christian and St. Rose McCarthy have 12 to 20 students in a classroom, while public school classes can range from 20 to 30 or 35.
Others prefer to have religious teaching be part of their child's education.
“It really is because of our faith,” said Jessica Visser, who has her four children enrolled at Hanford Christian School. “We wanted that to be integrated in all of their learning.”
Visser said she was open to public schools but felt that a private school was the best fit for her family in order to accomplish the goals she had set for her children. Her children are in preschool, first, third, and fifth-grade.
“It was a decision that we made with a lot of prayer,” she said.
According to the schools website, tuition for one child is $4,248 per year.
Depending on the child’s grade, Visser said the family gets a tuition break for having more than one child enrolled. Based on website information, having four children enrolled costs between $18,000 and $19,000.
The school has tuition assistance and scholarships available like most private schools in the area, Visser added.
“It’s totally something that is a blessing that we can do that,” she said. “It definitely comes with sacrifices.”
Visser said she volunteers at least 10 hours a week at the school. She is also the president of the school’s parent club.
“A lot of things at our school are run on volunteer hours,” she said. “I like to be involved in my kids’ classrooms.”
Annette Rajskup said she moved her two children from public schools to Hanford Christian School in 2008 after having mixed feelings about the public school curriculum and how it did not reflect their religious beliefs.
“The bigger issue was more from a scientific basis of how things came to be – evolution vs. creation,” she said. “We didn’t agree with it.”
Rajskup said the family scheduled a visit and enrolled their son and daughter the following school year. She said her daughter started first-grade and her son started fifth-grade at Hanford Christian.
“They loved it,” she said. “I have to trust the way my children feel.”
Now in the seventh and 11th-grade, she said her children appreciated attending a private school.
Rajskup recommends that parents explore their options when looking for schools and to listen to what their kids have to say about it.
She said that parents need to get a good feel of the campus and atmosphere of the classroom.
“Classroom size alone sometimes is a huge thing,” she said.
Jake Robinson, who has his first-grade son enrolled at St. Rose-McCarthy School, agrees.
Robinson attended St. Rose-McCarthy as a child and wanted to give the same experience he had to his son.
“It creates a good environment, and I think a successful academic life.”
Robinson said there is a lot of parent involvement, which makes communication easier with teachers and staff.
He is currently involved in the school’s parent club and volunteers on campus a few times throughout the week.
“Private school is an investment in your child, and it’s a good investment,” he said. “It’s more affordable than you think, and it’s well worth it.”