Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Grace Lutheran School Jacksonville Tuition

If you have kids and you live in Jacksonville, Florida, then you are considering private school. It's really that simple around here. I built the website for Grace Lutheran School in Jax, and I reminded the folks that one of the top searches is for the name of a school (Grace Lutheran School) and the word "tuition." People just want to know how much it's going to cost, but I totally understand the concept of selling what it offers rather than just giving out the numbers.

Since my kids go to Grace Lutheran in Jacksonville, I do know how much it costs, and if you want to reach out to me, I can give you the scoop. If the school doesn't want it listed everywhere, I won't divulge exact numbers here. What I will say is that it's comparable to comparable schools in the area. Jax has some very fancy private schools, and Grace won't cost you as much as those. However, there are also some private schools that don't charge very much, yet I'm not sure some of those are worth the price. With Grace, you get good value for your money.

Even if Grace is middle-of-the-road when it comes to tuition, it offers an excellent, Christ-centered education. My kids are both in the 90th+ percentile nationally in several subjects. They were bright before we came to Jacksonville, and Grace has continued to challenge them enough. In fact, if you think your kid is smarter than everyone else at school, I would encourage you to reconsider the school your kid attends. My kids could always use more competition.

Some people choose Grace just for kindergarten, thinking that local elementary schools do well enough in K-5 education. Some of those parents bring the kids back for middle school, partially because Jacksonville middle schools don't always have the greatest reputation. While it's probably easier to keep the kids at Grace the whole time, I can understand the desire to save money. Of course, that's also why you're searching for "Grace Lutheran School" and "tuition" in the first place. You're wondering if it DOES make sense to spend the money.


I have to tell you that I am a former public school teacher myself, and I think most public school teachers are wonderful. But not all of them. Really, it's just a few, here and there. But if your kid is unlucky enough to get two of those teachers in elementary school, good luck. Grace hires teachers from all over the country who are certified to teach in their home states and (eventually) Florida, often adhering to much stricter standards than those used by other local private schools or even the local public schools. My wife comes from Wisconsin, and we're known for our education. And since the Lutheran Church is big in the Midwest (where education is also known to be excellent), you can generally assume you'll be getting a teacher with the ability to teach your children. Again, I'm not saying the local, Jacksonville public school teachers are lacking in general, but if you think that might be the case at your own kids' school, then it just might be. Lutheran school teachers who are "called" meet very strict standards by the church itself, and they are considered to both ministers and teachers.

So you pay tuition, and that kind of stinks, right? You can try to use some financial aid (we do), but it's still frustrating. I pay $1,000 a year towards local public schools through property taxes. In fact, since I own a home in Milwaukee, I pay another $1,500 for public schools there. That's a lot to pay for nothing, especially when I have two kids in private school. But you really have to look at what's best for YOUR kids. You can accept the fact that a free public education is a right in our country, and just pay the taxes. But you don't have to accept the fact that a free public education in Jacksonville tends to be substandard. That IS why there are so many private schools here, by the way. Parents who want their children to succeed have decided that a private school market can exist in this city. Call it school choice if you want, but when there isn't actual government money being used to fund private schools here (as there is in Wisconsin), and the tuition costs about double of what we would have paid in Wisconsin, it means that people know the public schools are not as good as they want them to be. I totally feel that if all the private/charter school kids were forced to attend public schools that the public schools would get better, but that's really a parent's choice to pay taxes AND tuition, so I can't say it's wrong.

You may be able to feel better about your child's education by using a for-profit charter school that takes taxpayer money and depletes the public school system. Private schools don't take funds away from public schools in most cases, and that is why they tend to cost more than you might want to pay. Grace Lutheran School has to pay for quality teachers and facility maintenance. There's no CEO, CFO, or C-AnythingElse getting a huge cut of the tuition. There's not even a Superintendent (like at Duval) making $275,000 a year. Duval doesn't even pay all that much compared to where I'm from for most of its positions, but there sure are a lot of positions to fill, so I know my $1,000 in tax money is being spent. Since we may very well use Duval Public Schools for high school, I hope it's being spent wisely.

People who have read this far are very concerned about their children's education. A school like Grace Lutheran likely checks all the boxes for you, and now it's time to figure out if the tuition is something you are able and willing to pay. Don't wait around for vouchers, the next teacher or bus scandal, or the next student-filmed fight to make a decision.