Regional Communication - December 2023

Dear Parents and Guardians,

I hope the first semester has gone well for your family. I am writing to provide an update on regional progress.

Enrollment for the 2024-25 school year is nearly complete. Thank you for accommodating the earlier time frame which ensured priority enrollment for all current families. On December 1st schools began accepting applications from parishioners who are new to our schools. We will begin accepting applications from the broader community in late January during Catholic Schools Week. If you know of families who may be interested in learning more about all our schools have to offer, please encourage them to schedule a tour. While some classes are at capacity, we do still have open seats in schools across the region. 

Budgeting for the upcoming school year is underway with a focus on increasing compensation for faculty and staff. Throughout December regional staff are meeting with pastors, principals and business managers at each school to create an individualized plan for tuition and teacher pay. We’re proud of the progress to date toward matching public school pay scales and anticipate continuing these increases for the 2024-2025 school year. 

Business operations for the three pilot schools  - Holy Family, St. Joseph and Dowling Catholic - continue to be centralized with a goal of creating efficiencies and implementing best practices. Additional schools will be onboarded during the upcoming year. Key areas of work include tuition management, the enrollment process, ESA implementation, and human resources.

While Catholic education is more affordable than ever before with ESAs, our goal is to maintain tuition affordability knowing that many families will not qualify until the 2025-26 school year. We anticipate that tuition rates for the 2024-2025 school year will be announced in February. We can assure you that the financial impact for all families will be taken into account when establishing tuition. Tuition assistance through Catholic Tuition Organization (CTO), Diocesan Tuition Assistance (DTA) and other sources will help bridge the gap for families with demonstrated need.

Currently, 1,866 students across the 12 schools have benefitted from the ESA program. With expanded qualification guidelines, that number will increase significantly. We encourage all families to take advantage of these resources and will provide additional information as it becomes available. In the meantime, you can learn more about ESAs at

At the close of this year, I want to thank the pastors, principals, faculty and staff for their dedication to Catholic education. It is their work that makes our mission possible. I hope you and your family have a blessed Advent and Christmas season. 


About Our Schools

The region consists of the eleven Catholic grade schools in the Des Moines Metro and Dowling Catholic High School. The regional model brings the schools together in a system that enhances operations through collaboration and leveraging collective resources. Working in concert with the Diocese of Des Moines, the region makes it possible to direct resources towards making our schools better while preserving the traditions, culture and individual identities of each school.

Frequently Asked Questions

List of 8 frequently asked questions.

  • 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.
  • Who should I contact with questions about tuition assistance?

    Each school is able to assist families with the application process.

Our Schools

The Des Moines Region Catholic School Corporation’s (the “Region”), Catholic schools, under the aegis of the Bishop, state that all of the Region’s Catholic schools admit students of any race, color, national or ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the schools. These schools do not discriminate on the basis of race, age, disability, color, and national or ethnic origin in the administration of their educational policies, employment practices, scholarship and loan programs, athletic or other school-administered programs. The employment relationship between the Region and its employees is governed by canon law as well as civil law. As religious institutions, nothing in the Iowa Code and this policy shall be construed as prohibiting the Region’s Catholic schools from imposing qualifications based on religion, sexual orientation, or gender identity when such qualifications are related to a bona fide religious purpose. In addition, schools shall comply with the anti-bullying/anti-harassment laws of the state of Iowa, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act as such may apply to the Region’s Catholic schools.