School Tuition … Paying for More than Just a Classroom

I know this is a touchy subject right now. It’s hard for so many of us to even wrap our minds around the idea of paying thousands of dollars to simply home-school our kids again. None of us really can tell what “Back to School” will even look like. Phase 1? Phase 2? Hybrid classes in August? Nobody knows what Fall will consist of. But we do know one thing: that first wave of tuition is due.

I, like most of you, so desperately want my kids to get back to their normal routine and go to school in August. Heck! I don’t ever want to home-school again! But, the reality is, that might not be the case. We might still be in quarantine; we might have to back-track and shutdown everything again; we might have to home-school, either full-time, or part-time. No matter what happens though, I’m still, without question, paying my kids’ school tuition when the administration asks.

The school has provided so much for my kids even while conducting at-home learning.

It would be foolish of me to think that I had more of a hand in my kids continuing their education than their school did through all of this. All I did was deliver the teachers’ assignments and basically yell and threaten until they got them done. Ok, I had to do SOME work because some concepts were brand new for my children, but the teachers still did much more than I in that department. They sent countless videos, links for resources, they sent home textbooks, folders, packets, and readers, they held virtual classes, made personal phone calls and deliveries, answered questions through texts and emails right away, continued with their own professional development – all while tending to their own personal lives and families. If we still had to adhere to social-distancing laws come August, I’m paying the tuition so the teachers can continue doing what they do best, and that’s to help me help my kids. I would never have survived any kind of home-schooling without the help of the teachers. I wouldn’t even know where to start. They set everything up for me, and I delivered what I could. I’d pay the tuition so the teachers could still have access to all of their professional development resources and tools to use to cater to my own child’s learning abilities, even if it is at home again.

The school facilities need to not only be functional, but better and cleaner than before.

Bottom line, campus maintenance is expensive. Keeping up with the water bill, electricity bills, security, and most importantly, a thorough deep-cleaning to prepare for a safer and cleaner environment after all of this, I’m sure, costs more than one thinks. This pandemic has opened our eyes to how quickly germs can spread. And, if we want our young, germ-carrying children to join 100s or even 1000s of other little germ-carriers, then new protocols have to be put in place which means new bills are going to pop up. Schools can’t hire third-party cleaning companies and Ochsner hospital staff to create said-environment if we don’t pay those fees included in our tuition. If I want a clean and safe school for my kids to attend when the city re-opens, whenever that may be, I’m paying the tuition.

Whenever we do go back to school, I want our family welcomed back with open arms.

Real talk, I know I want my kids to attend the particular schools we chose whenever they do open back up, so why cause strife over something I know I’m going to end up having to pay at some point? If I were questioning paying their tuition, then maybe I’m questioning if I even want them to attend that particular school – and that is a legitimate argument. But I know that’s where I want them to go, so I’d like to have zero conflict with the institution that is helping mold my children. I want to be welcomed back and even appreciated for cooperating during such a stressful time. I don’t want to be labeled as a “difficult” parent or a “trouble-maker.” If there is the slightest doubt of paying the tuition not knowing exactly what is going to happen in August, then maybe a re-evaluation of the chosen school, all-together, is in order.

We chose that mission to support.

Choosing a private education for a child is not a decision any parent enters lightly. There are so many options. But, when you ultimately boil it down to the school of your choosing, you’re basing that decision, most likely, on that school’s mission. School tuition isn’t just buying technology, or paying teacher salaries, or paying for building upkeep. When a family takes on such an expensive responsibility, they’re buying into a mission, a purpose, that will shape not only the child but influence the family as well. A private school’s mission is their most important feature. It answers the “why” and the “how” these students are learning what they’re learning. It’s what sets them apart from any other school. That bill the school is sending ultimately supports that mission and sees that it spreads and thrives throughout our families, our city, and our culture. Paying it is only furthering the success of that mission.

There is no doubt that times are tough right now, and incoming finances are absolutely a concern for many families. Those unfortunate cases aside, when you receive your tuition statement for the 2020-2021 school year, think about all of these factors before quickly resorting to withholding until your school gets the green light. Think about what you’re actually withholding. Think about how raising hell and pointing fingers and throwing shade might cause controversy for your child. Think about why you started paying tuition to this particular institution to begin with. We’re not just paying for our child to sit in a classroom with an adult from August to May; we’re paying for so much more than that, and if we even want to have such an environment available to the children at some point, that tuition payment is key.

Jennifer Gonzales
Wife to my high school sweetheart, Ross, and mother to 5 children: Trip, Conner, McKenzie, Piper, and Sutton, I am a born and raised Southern Louisiana Lady. I am a graduate of Mt. Carmel Academy, received my Bachelor’s in English with a concentration in Secondary Ed. from LSU followed by my Master’s of Education from UNO, and for the past 15 years, I have been outwitting high school boys as an English teacher at Holy Cross School. When I’m not grading papers, driving to baseball practices, or making grocery runs, I can be found cheering on my LSU Tigers, cutting up with my girlfriends, and attempting DIY projects around the home. I’m all about sippin’ some wine during the sunset while the kiddos play in the yard and the hubby works the grill. I’m living my best mommy life these days and am always happy to share the journey with others!


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