The recession has not been kind to many private schools.
Nationally, public school enrollment is rising as the recession has forced many parents to pull their kids from private schools. In Wisconsin, the number of students enrolled in private schools fell more than 2 percent from 2007 to 2009, according to the state Department of Public Instruction.
But Edgewood High School of the Sacred Heart, under the leadership of President Judd Schemmel, seems to be bucking the trend. Enrollment at the nearly 130-year-old school during Schemmel’s five-year tenure has risen a little over 5 percent, from 626 to 660 this year; Schemmel has his eye on an optimal enrollment of between 700 and 725 students.
The school, not traditionally known as an academic powerhouse, has also seen improved academic performance under Schemmel; elite universities from Harvard to Stanford and Princeton to Yale accepted Edgewood students from the class of 2009. It is also on more stable financial footing than it was five years ago, with its debt shrinking from just under $1 million to about $335,000 today, despite a number of building improvements and classroom renovations.