Catholic school class ring controversy

January 29, 2013 8:10:05 AM PST
A mom with twin girls at two different schools noticed that the price just wasn't right with one student's class ring.

Maureen Rosowski of Northeast Philadelphia is used to paying double.

Her daughter Lyndsay attends Saint Hubert Catholic High School. Lyndsay's twin, Lauren, attends Archbishop Ryan High School.

When the juniors picked out class rings, the order forms were identical except for the prices.

Rosowski tells us, "Over the past two and a half years, I have been paying more for everything, sucking it up and just sending the check in and that's it. Then I thought with this, 'Enough's enough!'"

So she did some research and learned Archbishop Ryan was charging $44 to $90 more than any other Catholic high school for women's rings.

"Where is all that money going? The difference in price. That's a lot of money," Rosowski said.

After repeated calls and emails to the archdiocese, we finally got some answers.

Philadelphia Archdiocese spokesman Kenneth A. Gavin said, "It's important to note that the Archbishop Ryan administration was unaware of the price differential with other schools until it was brought to their attention. They worked swiftly to rectify the situation. It is typical for schools to receive a portion of proceeds from the sale of class rings. That was the case with the handling fee at Archbishop Ryan."

But the big question is, what were those profits being used for?

"There are roughly 400 in the junior class. If 300 of them bought a ring and were charged $50 to $70 more, I think that's about $20,000 or so," Rosowski said.

The archdiocese also pointed the finger at the ring provider, Josten's, which has been its supplier for decades.

"Pricing for rings at each of the schools is determined in conjunction with the company supplying the rings...Archbishop Ryan administration is currently working with its supplier to bring pricing more into line with what is being charged at other schools," Gavin said in a statement.

But Rosowski said a Josten's sales representative told her the company didn't raise the price. Archbishop Ryan did.

"I chose to send my girls to Catholic school. I pay their fees, I pay their tuition on time. But when they bring an outside company in to do business with these girls, they shouldn't be trying to make another buck off of it," Rosowski said.

After the questions raised by this parent and Action News, the archdiocese says Archbishop Ryan students who have already paid for their rings will be refunded the difference.