Nine former public school students accepted scholarships to attend Central Catholic High School on its opening day under the state’s Student Scholarships for Educational Excellence program.
Deacon Vic Bonnaffee, principal at CCHS, said this morning his school had 34 spaces available and 16 students applied to fill them. Out of those, 14 students were assigned. This morning, nine students attended the first day of classes.
The students who applied come from the territories of Franklin, Patterson and Morgan City high schools in St. Mary Parish as well as Assumption High School in neighboring Assumption Parish, Bonnaffee said.
CCHS is the only school in St. Mary Parish accepting scholarship students.
The principal said there is a “vast amount of confusion” concerning the state’s reasons for the program. The primary purpose for the state to provide scholarships, he said, is for a change of environments to effect a positive change on students.
Bonnaffee also said he will receive an email with a form on Aug. 10 from the state inquiring how many of his 34 spaces have been officially filled. After that time, he expects a second round of the state’s lottery system for those who did not receive a spot in the first round.
State Department of Education Press Secretary Barry Landry said only students who listed CCHS as one of their five choices and did not receive a scholarship could be assigned in the second lottery.
“We are going to match as many kids to open seats as we can,” he said, adding that this applies primarily to parishes like Caddo where demand far exceeded open seats.
The second lottery will be the last this school year. After the Sept. 1 enrollment count, the first payment to voucher schools will be made, Landry said.