Hayden parents concerned over declining enrollment, increasing tuition

Local News

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – A petition going around on social media is calling for Hayden Catholic High School administrators to meet parents in a town hall meeting. The petition was posted anonymously on Change.org says they are concerned over declining enrollment and the increase of tuition at the school. There are more than 1,000 signatures from parents and alumni.

The school’s President, Shelly Buhler gave KSNT their enrollment numbers for the past 11 years. In the last 11 years, enrollment has dropped more than 100 students and the cost of tuition has nearly tripled.

Buhler said it is normal for enrollment to fluctuate and they have seen some occasional increases in the past few years. As far as the increase in tuition which has gone up more than $3,000 over the past 10 years, Buhler said they are trying to stay competitive with teachers’ salaries and that is a major reason for the increase. Below this article, you can see a breakdown of the tuition increases throughout the years.

Buhler said she’s working to find out who created the petition so she can talk with them, “Certainly we are willing to talk with the organizers of the event at this time we don’t know who that is,” said Buhler. “We’re going to continue to reach out to them and send a message that we certainly want to work together for the best interest of Hayden.”

The petition says they are asking the meeting to be held on February 23rd in the school’s gymnasium. In order for the meeting to be held in the schools gym, it would need to be approved. Buhler said so far no one has contacted the school district to get that approval.

Administration sent this message to parents today:

Hayden Community, 

We want to take the opportunity during Catholic Schools Week to address several topics brought forward via social media last week. As of this communication, Hayden has not been contacted by the anonymous author(s) of the post; however, we remain open to having a conversation with the event organizers to discuss a format to maximize everyone’s time and perspective.

Enrollment: On September 20, 2019, the date official enrollment numbers are calculated by all schools in the state, Hayden’s official enrollment was 409 students. Over the past 10 years, Hayden’s average enrollment has been 440. During this period, the percentage of students graduating from Topeka Catholic Elementary Schools and enrolling at Hayden has remained stable at approximately 69%. Enrollment declines experienced at Hayden mirror national Catholic education trends. In recent years, Hayden has expanded its recruiting efforts to include Lawrence and international students to expand and diversify our student population.

Tuition: Every effort is made to keep tuition rates affordable for our students. Tuition for 2019-2020 is $5,500 and will increase to $5,800 for the 2020-2021 school year for tithing parishioners. The rate for students not belonging to a Catholic parish in Topeka is increasing from $7,260 to $7,560. Tuition for international students is $12,000. Of our overall operating budget, 44.5% comes from tuition, 26% from parish subsidy, 1.6% from the Hayden Foundation, 1.8% from the Archdiocese, 6.5% from other revenue, and 19.5% comes from our fundraising. We hope those familiar with regional and national tuition rates realize Hayden provides Catholic education at a much lower cost to our families than can be found elsewhere.

Scholarships: Hayden strives to provide a Catholic education for every student who desires one.  Scholarships are available based on financial need. This year approximately 52% of our students receive financial assistance or discounts (e.g. multi-student discount, early bird enrollment discount, Catholic Education Foundation tax credit, etc.). We pride ourselves in working hard to make Catholic education a possibility for as many individuals as possible.  

Strategic Planning: We are using the National Standards and Benchmarks for Effective Catholic Schools to guide this process. This past summer the school leadership team and faculty met regularly with the Cognia School Improvement team regarding our school accreditation process. Additionally, a team comprised of Board of Trustees members and school staff recently completed phase I of a strategic planning process. Phase II will begin soon and will include focus groups and surveys to gather data to incorporate into our all-inclusive strategic plan. 

Graduation/Student Success: Beginning in 2013 the Kansas Department of Education started compiling data to track postsecondary success rate. The success rate is calculated by the number of students who have completed one of the following: student earned an Industry Recognized Certification while in High School; student earned a Postsecondary Certificate; student earned a Postsecondary Degree; or a student enrolled in Postsecondary in both the first and second year following High School graduation. As documented by the state, Hayden’s average success rate over the 5 year period was 80%. Hayden’s average graduation rate over the same timeline was 98%. This is substantially higher than many local districts. To compare to your local district use the following link: https://ksreportcard.ksde.org/ccr.aspx?org_no=State&rptType=3

Our best ambassadors for our schools are our parents, students, and teachers. Hayden has a long, storied history in Topeka. We continue to cultivate excellence in Faith, Academics, Community, Tradition, and Service. We invite the Catholic community, and everyone in the area to join us at Hayden Catholic High School on April 18, 2020 for our Blue and Gold Gala, our largest fundraiser of the year.

Tuition and Enrollment Data 2009-10 through 2019-2020

School YearTotal Tuition and Fees PaidIncrease% of Total Tuition and Fees IncreaseTotal School Year EnrollmentPrior School Year Enrollment

KSDE data regarding High School Success Rate

BuildingClassHayden Graduation RateSuccess Rate

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