Students sent home for not paying tuition

March 11, 2009 4:58:36 PM PDT
These are difficult economic times for Marian Catholic High School in Chicago Heights. On Monday, 300 students with outstanding tuition bills totaling about $450,000 were lined outside the school office as their accounts were dealt with. Some students were sent home while others were confused and embarrassed."I feel the situation could of been handled a little bit better...I kind of felt bad for all the kids standing there," said Emily Pochinskas, Marian Catholic High School senior.

"They had two months' notice. They also sent out letters a month ago. A month ago, they called up people. This isn't all of a sudden you can't pay your bill and can't come," said Leo Pochinskas, Marian parent.

"My daughter called me about 8:30 Monday morning to say mom, if you don't pay tuition, I got to go home. So what I did is I had a check written to pay my mortgage and mortgage didn't get paid," said Valerie Slaughter, Marian parent.

School president Judine Hilbing said the computer server was down and there were many parents unable to make the payment and the tuition deadline was on Monday. That's why they had to contact the 300 students.

"At least 100 of them almost immediately handed a payment or said my parent tried to make the payment and we sent them to class. The next 100 went down very quickly because they began to make phone calls," said Hilbing.

Over 1,500 students attend Marian High School. Hilbing says the last three days have been difficult on everyone involved. She added that the parents of the 300 students called to the office owed between $750 and $8,000. Tuition at the school is over $8,000 dollars. The school had sent letters home to all of the families and now they say they will handle outstanding tuitions differently.

"One major procedure that we would do is not give the same letter to everyone on the same day," said Hilbing.

President Hilbing said they will continue to work with the students to return to school and hopefully they will be back shortly.