Magnet school apps. jump as economy slips - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Magnet school apps. jump as economy slips

Sandra Stenger's magnet school application was approved. It will save her an estimated $10,000 in private school costs for her two children. Sandra Stenger's magnet school application was approved. It will save her an estimated $10,000 in private school costs for her two children.

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - The economy is having an impact on the Montgomery Public School system's magnet program. In 2009 administrators saw seen a huge increase in applications, so much so that they've had to turn away almost 3,000 students.

While faculty members can't label the reason for the increase parents blame the down economy and the high price of putting their children through private school.

"When we got the mail that day it was an answered prayer," explained Sandra Stenger. The letter was notification that her daughter was accepted into the magnet school program. "We were ecstatic."

Now, Stenger is focused on getting her five-year-old ready for kindergarten classes at Forest Avenue Academic Magnet, as opposed to crunching the numbers and preparing to spend big money on a private school education. Stenger estimated it would cost more than $10,000 to put her two children through private school.

That's a selling point that's attractive to many parents who are still in limbo.

"We actually had several friends that also tested," Stenger said, "some are currently on the wait list so we're still praying that they will have options open up for them as well."

The Montgomery Public School system received 3976 magnet applications this year, but only had 1,200 openings. That means almost 3,000 students will be searching for new classrooms this fall.

While the cost of education is an issue, the Stenger's are proud of the magnet program. In fact, Sandra and her husband met at LAMP and were members of the school's fifth graduating class. "The tradition continues, maybe she will meet her husband, who knows..."

Students who didn't make the initial cut for the magnet school program are automatically put on a waiting list and any open positions will be filled this Fall. However, the school system says only a small percentage of students leave the program after school starts, leaving little room for students on the waiting list.

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