San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

France to Stop Funding Historic School

The French government will stop funding the French-CostaRicanSchool at the end of 2009, spelling possible closure for the 40-year old school in Tres Ríos, east of San José.

France, which has traditionally shouldered about 50 percent of the school’s budget, at first decided to reduce its contribution to 33 percent and asked parents to pick up more of the tab (TT, July 11).

In a July meeting, parents discussed increasing tuition, but they rejected the steep hikes that French Ambassador Jean-Paul Monchau had suggested.

Monchau said he worried that the quality of the school would suffer.

“I don’t want the name of France to be associated with mediocrity,” he told The Tico Times. “I prefer not to have a French (school) at all.”

The embassy announced its decision in a diplomatic note to the Costa Rican Foreign Ministry last Friday. Unless the school finds other funding sources, it will close beginning in 2010.

Formed by a 1967 agreement between the Costa Rican and French governments, the school has 654 Costa Rican students, 136 French students and 44 students of other nationalities, according to director Jean-Luc Mathieu.

–Gillian Gillers


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