A Bold Vision for the Future 

A $25-million endowment for tuition assistance will complement the Catholic Tuition Organization (CTO) tax-credit program, which currently provides around 40% of the demonstrated need of our school families. More financial aid and higher enrollment will provide our schools the resources to attract and retain good teachers and have a balanced tuition/parish subsidy model so our schools and parishes go from surviving to thriving. 


“This is an opportunity for everyone in the Diocese to help remove the obstacles that some families face when they want a Catholic education for their children. Together, we will fulfill our obligation, which extends beyond our own parish and into the broader Southwest Iowa.” 

Dan and Natalie Burkey 
General Co-Chairs and Corpus Christi, Council Bluffs Parishioners 

 


The Path to Excellence

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Questions about the Catholic Education Endowment

 What is the strategic plan for Catholic Schools? 

In 2018, the Diocese began developing a plan to ensure all 16 diocesan schools could fulfill their mission for the next generation of students and families. The plan came forth in the spirit of stewardship and focused on prudently managing the resources and gifts God has given the Church, making disciples for Christ, evangelizing families, and forming young people capable and ready to transform the world with the Gospel of Christ. Throughout the planning process, parish and school leaders shared their insights into the state of Catholic education. 

The plan features collaborative faith formation programs, professional marketing and communications, enrollment management to promote Catholic schools and increase enrollment, high quality academic programs available to all students, and the creation of an endowment to provide schools with a well-funded financial aid program. The plan also calls for creating a regionalized, Des Moines Metro school system of the 11 elementary schools and Dowling Catholic High School. This regional model allows schools in the Des Moines area to take advantage of best practices while maintaining their unique strengths and connection to their parish communities. Finally, the regional model features centralized business operations to reduce duplication of efforts and take school management tasks off the plate of pastors and principals. 

 How will regional school systems work under the strategic plan? 

Region designations identify schools by their geographic location. St. Alberts in Council Bluffs is a region, the rural schools in Creston, Shelby County, and Perry are a region, and the eleven grade schools in the Des Moines metro area along with Dowling Catholic High School form a region. Region designations, however, also identify schools that act as a system. A system relates to governance and business practices. For example, St. Alberts in Council Bluffs is a regional school system since all grades of the school are in one system under one governance model with a president and board or boards. 

 

 Are Des Moines area Catholic schools in a regional system? 

Currently, the Catholic schools in the Des Moines area are not in a regional system. Each school operates independently regarding budgets, teacher salary, tuition, tuition assistance, and business practices such as payroll, tuition collection, and purchasing. The plan to regionalize the Des Moines metro schools creates a system and business model that provides strong collaboration, more equity, and improves efficiencies of operations across all the schools. The model also proposes that all parishes in the metro area support the Catholic grade schools financially so that families in every parish have access to a Catholic education. 

 If the Catholic Tuition Organization (CTO) provides financial aid for families in need – why are we establishing this endowment? 

The CTO is a School Tuition Organization (STO) authorized by the State of Iowa, which offers a tax credit to donors who support private and parochial education because these entities provide savings in taxpayer dollars. The current allotment of tax credits is $20 million across the state and increases are based on the legislature and/or STO enrollment numbers. The CTO currently provides for 40% of the demonstrated financial aid need, however, more funding is necessary to adequately meet the need. The endowment, alongside the CTO will give more schoolchildren access to Catholic education and increase enrollment throughout the Diocese. 

 If my parish does not have a Catholic school and/or I don’t have a child in Catholic school, why should I support the Catholic Education Endowment? 

Supporting the endowment will make it possible for more young children to attend Catholic schools. A Catholic education is holistic, as it properly forms students in mind, faith and spirit. Students who attend Catholic schools receive a strong academic education and through daily engagement of Catholic faith and values in the classroom, they develop a relationship with God and a lifelong commitment to spirituality, civic responsibility, and humility. Research indicates these students are the next generation of lay and clerical leaders who will ensure our parishes and communities continue to thrive. 


Plant the Seeds of Faith

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The IGNITE! Campaign honors the sacrifices of those who came before us by following their example and passing our faith on to future generations. We hope you will consider joining us in making our vision for the Catholic Church in Southwest Iowa a reality. Pledge today!

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