MCALLEN, Texas — Due to circumstances created by the pandemic, a McAllen private school has seen a decrease in enrollment for the fall semester.
South Texas Christian Academy, a faith-based school in McAllen for children pre-K through 12th grade, has lost 25 percent of its student population since the spring.
“Basically, the reason is hardship,” explained STCA Principal Federico Esquivel. “Some of our parents lost their jobs. The other one (reason) is going into distance learning. For some parents, they thought it was probably more convenient to keep them for home study.”
While this decrease has placed some financial stress on the school, leading them to layoff four staff members, Esquivel said they are expecting some of those students to return once it is safe to reopen.
“Some of them are waiting for us to bring students into the classroom because they need to go to work,” he said. “So as soon as we bring the students into the classroom, they told us they will bring their kids here.”
For parent Christina DeMara, the reason she transferred her elementary-aged daughter to her local district school because the school she was in shut down.
“When you compare to big districts… those schools have a lot more revenue and funding,” she said.
She adds while some other parents found a different private school, her family chose to enroll their daughter in public school because of those resources.
“I knew that the technology and infrastructure was going to be an issue,” DeMara said.
So far, DeMara is happy with how the year is going and does not plan to transfer her daughter elsewhere once in-person education resumes.
“We want every child to be successful,” she said. “We want every child to be connected — that’s the common thing, whether you’re in public school or private school.”
For now, Esquivel said the school board is discussing the possibility of reopening in October with classes of 17 students or less.