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 https://educateiowa.gov/pk-12/students-first-education-savings-accounts
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.