Regional Planning Update

Dear Parents and Guardians, 

Last month I provided an update on progress in determining teacher compensation for the coming year. I am pleased to share that we are on track with our multi-year regional goal to match public school compensation scales. Never before have our schools been in a position to provide pay raises that truly account for a teacher’s education and years of experience. Some of our most tenured teachers will see significant increases - a well-deserved acknowledgement of their dedication and loyalty. Marty Flaherty, principal at Holy Family, is just one administrator who has shared how grateful he is to provide just compensation for teachers. In his words: “Our teachers are committed, faith-filled professionals who provide our kids with an exceptional education. The regionalization process put us in a position to compensate our teachers in a way that they deserve.” 

If you haven’t already seen this video, I encourage you to take a few minutes to learn about the new regional approach to tuition affordability, teacher compensation and stewarding our collective resources. 

In addition, I want to provide some reminders regarding the tuition assistance process and ESAs.

  • The tuition assistance application process is open now through April 18. There is just one application per household for all available programs including CTO and the new Diocesan Tuition Assistance Endowment. Click here for income guidelines.

  • The process and time frame for the distribution of ESA funds is still being determined, therefore it is imperative that families proceed with the Fair application. Receiving tuition assistance does not affect ESA eligibility and can only help a family’s financial situation.

  • Families are invited to join me in a virtual meeting to learn more about tuition assistance and ESAs on Friday, March 3 at noon or Tuesday, March 28 at 5:30 p.m. You do not need to register – simply click here to join.

We are grateful to our regional board for developing an ambitious but attainable plan to meet this goal, only possible with the collaboration of Bishop Joensen, pastors, administrators and diocesan staff.

Thank you for your continued support. 

Dr. Dan Ryan
President, Dowling Catholic High School and Des Moines Region

Regional Update (Spanish) 3.1.23

Tuition Assistance

Currently 37% of students qualify for tuition assistance. Up to 15% more may qualify next year given expanded qualification guidelines. Learn more to see if this benefits your family!

Frequently Asked Questions

List of 11 frequently asked questions.

  • What is the region? Which schools are included?

    This is a proven model that has been successfully implemented by Catholic schools across the country. The region will consist of the eleven Catholic grade schools in the Des Moines Metro and Dowling Catholic High School. All of these schools will continue to function in their current locations serving the grade spans that they do today. Currently, each grade school is attached to one parish which is responsible for the entire operation of the school. The regional model will bring the schools together in a system that will enhance operations through collaboration and leveraging of collective resources. Each school will benefit from greater efficiency with the consolidation of overhead services such as human resources and accounting that each school is currently managing separately. Working in concert with the diocese, the region will make it possible to direct resources towards making our schools better while preserving the traditions, culture and individual identities of each school.
  • Why are we implementing a regional model?

    The increasing complexity of running schools and the cost to sustain an exceptional Catholic education requires a strategic approach. This new approach will facilitate long term planning, streamlined operations and the sustainability of our schools for decades to come. The regional model will also provide the opportunity to address teacher pay and retention which directly correlates with positive student outcomes. In addition,  increasing tuition assistance will be a top priority which aligns with our mission of providing access for all who value and seek a Catholic education.
  • What does this mean for parents and students?

    This will not be a monumental change for parents, students or teachers in their day-to-day activities. Each school will maintain their individual uniforms, faith activities, athletic teams, and other aspects that make them unique. Community events such as the annual gala and other traditions will also continue as they have in the past. In fact, the region has identified a goal of not only protecting the unique identity of each school, but also providing a process to help articulate a vision for each school.
  • How will this change the roles of the pastors and principals?

    Operating a school has become much more complex over the years. Asking pastors to fulfill the wide variety of roles required to operate a parish and school is no longer realistic. The regional system will provide the opportunity to better define the role of the pastor as it pertains to the operation of the school so his role as the spiritual and faith leader in the parish and school can be accomplished more effectively. 

    The same is true for what is required of principals. Over time business operations will be centralized in the regional model, allowing principals to focus their attention and efforts on student outcomes, faith and values, hiring and supporting teachers, and ultimately providing the highest quality Catholic education for their students.
  • How will the parishes and schools stay connected?

    In the regional model the local school must remain an active partner of the parish. The involvement of the clergy in the day-to-day faith activities of the school community is essential to the faith formation of faculty, staff and students. This model would remove the operational activities from the clergy and prioritize the spiritual needs of the school community and parish. Pastors, principals and local boards have been discussing new opportunities to bring school and parish families together as a faith community.
  • Will my tuition increase?

    For the coming year each school will retain their own budget. Under the current model tuition does increase each year in small increments and it will continue to do so. Increasing tuition assistance is a top priority for the new region and important steps have already taken place. For example, additional funds from the Catholic Tuition Organization (CTO) are becoming available for the 2023-2024 school year. In addition, a specific portion of the Diocesan Ignite campaign will provide over $1 million in tuition assistance to families in the Des Moines region. The goal is to work towards creating a common tuition model over the coming five years.
  • What are the steps for families who wish to apply for tuition assistance?

    Families complete the tuition assistance application online at Applications are accepted beginning February 1st. Tax returns are required for a complete application. All information is kept confidential.
  • Am I guaranteed an award if I meet the income qualification guidelines?

    All qualifying families will receive a minimum award based on income and demonstrated need. Demonstrated need takes into account factors such as number of dependents, family circumstances and cost of tuition.
  • What are the deadlines for the application process?

    The application process opens February 1. Families are encouraged to apply early given additional funds available. All applications must be received by April 17.
  • How will I know if my tuition assistance application is approved?

    Families who submit complete applications and required documentation will be notified by their school the first week of June 2023.
  • Who should I contact with questions about tuition assistance?

    Each school will have staff who are trained to assist families with the application process.