Feb 25, 2013 8:51 AM by AP/CS
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - New figures show enrollment in Catholic schools has fallen 18 percent statewide during the past 13 years.
Enrollment has dropped 9 percent in the Diocese of Baton Rouge since 2000 and has fallen 25 percent in schools that make up the Archdiocese of New Orleans, in part because of population losses after Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005.
The Advocate reports the numbers were compiled by the National Catholic Educational Association.
Enrollment totals 15,201 students in the Diocese of Baton Rouge compared to 16,784 at the turn of the century.
Melanie Verges, superintendent of schools for the diocese, said a wide range of factors have contributed to the drop.
Verges said economic concerns, the growth of public magnet and charter schools, and geographic shifts account for some of the losses.