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Parish: 233-3092 | School: 232-5290 | Faith Formation: 232-3514 | 2900 Hoover Avenue, Ames IA

PRINCIPAL NOTES – January 25, 2019
NOTES FROM THE PRINCIPAL
Update on Catholic Schools Week & Snow Days
You will have until Monday morning by 9 a.m., February 4th, to bring in all your donations for the daily challenges. These donations are items for the Access Women’s Shelter, loose change for the Sister Water Project and food/paper products for Food at First. The staff and family talent show will be rescheduled at a later date. Lastly, your children can wear their pajamas and slippers on Monday. If you have any questions, please contact Sara Leto at saraleto05@gmail.com

New School Tuition Rates 2019-2020
Beginning with the 2019-2020 school year, St. Cecilia School will be changing tuition to a flat rate. The rate will be $3000 per student, regardless of in or out of parish status or number of students per family attending the school. The non-Catholic rate will be $6,239 per student.

Why the change?
While officially a local decision, it has been strongly recommended by the Archdiocese that every Archdiocesan school eliminate their multi-student discount. The reason is that STO is intended to meet the needs of families with multiple children enrolled, and schools do not need to duplicate this in their tuition structure. The St. Cecilia Catholic School Board believes that the tuition structure at St. Cecilia, which determines tuition based on a family’s self-reported income, also replicates the work of STO. For this reason, the board has decided to move forward with a flat rate. This rate is consistent with other schools in our area that share a similar population and demographics with St. Cecilia School.

Why now?
Beginning this year, STO has established a higher threshold for families that qualify for an STO scholarship. In past years, families needed to have a taxable income under 300% of the poverty rate to qualify for STO funds. For the 2019-2020 school year, qualifying incomes have increased to include taxable income up to 400% of the federal poverty rate. As an example, a family of four making approximately $100,400 could qualify to receive STO. Families facing a potential increase in tuition at St. Cecilia will ideally have that tuition increase offset by increased availability of STO funds. In regards to eliminating the out-of-parish rate, in the recent past only a handful of students have registered for school at St. Cecilia with the out-of-parish designation. There are several schools throughout the Archdiocese that charge a similar or equivalent rate for in- vs. out-of-parish students.

What next?
STO is open from now until April 15th. We have STO help sessions scheduled at the school on February 28th from 3:30-5:00, March 12th from 2:00-7:00, March 13th from 2:00-3:30, April 10th from 2:30-3:30, and April 11th from 3:30-5:00. In addition to these dates, staff is available any time by appointment to help families complete STO applications. Families will know by the end of May of their STO awards. Families applying to STO are also invited to apply for our local Tuition Scholarship to supplement STO awards received. If you are a family who will be paying less in tuition as a result of the tuition change, it is strongly encouraged that you donate at least a portion of those savings to the local Tuition Scholarship fund. For example, if families budget 5% of their income to tuition, a family making $40,000 per year budgets $2,000 for tuition, while a family making $100,000 per year budgets $5,000. If there is a gap between your budgeted cost and your actual cost, please consider donating that surplus amount to the Tuition Scholarship fund. You will see a line on your tuition contract to facilitate that donation. Catholic education has been, since its beginning, a place where all students can find equity and justice in learning regardless of financial need. Catholic social teaching demands that we care for these families, especially in our own community, to ensure that all who desire a Catholic education for their children are able to provide them with that opportunity.

Please contact Sara Rooney at 515-232-5290 with any questions or to set up an appointment to discuss tuition.

In Christ,
The St. Cecilia Catholic School Board
Sara Rooney, Principal

FACTS Tuition & Fee Processing
Dear Parents:
In preparation for the upcoming school year we are making plans for improving the content and quality of our programs while increasing efficiency in the office. In a review of our operations, we have been studying our method of managing information.

Since the stability of our school and the quality of its programs are of the utmost importance, we are always seeking ways to make improvements to benefit everyone. After much research and investigation, we have contracted with FACTS Management Company for our tuition and fee processing. We are excited to be working with them and are confident these changes will lead to better efficiency in managing our information as well as our finances.

FACTS is one of the country’s leading technology companies serving more than 10,000 K-12 schools globally. They currently serve all of the schools in the Archdiocese of Dubuque with their financial aid assessment service. We want to leverage their technology and security to optimize our resources.

All families will receive an email invitation, at a later date to be announced, to create an online payment plan and will be required to select one of the following payment plan options:
FULL PAYMENT:
The entire amount of tuition and fees is paid on or before September 15, 2019. You can choose to receive an invoice or schedule an automatic (ACH/Credit Card) payment.

2 PAYMENTS:
The tuition payment and fees will be divided in two payments. The 1st payment is due by September 15, 2019 and the 2nd payment is due by January 15, 2020. You can choose to receive an invoice or schedule an automatic (ACH/Credit Card) payment.

10 PAYMENTS:
Tuition is paid over a 10 month period. The 10 month payment plan begins August 2019 and ends May 2020. The FACTS plan offers two different ways to pay for tuition:
Electronic debit, as authorized by parents, from their bank accounts (checking or savings accounts).
Credit cards There will be a 2.85% service fee for all credit card transactions ( Visa, American Express, Discover or MasterCard).

FACTS manages the business side of education for over 10,000 schools nationally. Their program is used by more than 1,500,000 families. FACTS serves many Catholic schools and we are excited to be working with them and are confident that this program will lead to a stronger financial foundation for our school. This will provide you with convenient online payment options, as well as mobile, mail and phone. You will also receive any non-tuition bills (lunch, etc) electronically from FACTS which will be automatically drafted. FACTS provides families with an online interface that is intuitive and transparent as well as 24 x 7 customer service.

We will communicate with you the changes you can anticipate and a timeline. We expect this to be a smooth transition and hope you understand why we made these decisions. We believe the immediate benefits will far outweigh the challenges of change and that our school will be in a better position for having made these decisions. Our commitment to excellence is unwavering and we greatly appreciate your trust in us to provide an outstanding education to your children.

Sincerely,
Sara E. Rooney, Principal

FACTS – Student Tuition Organization
The Our Faith, Our Children, Our Future School Tuition Organization (STO) and St. Cecilia School are pleased to once again provide tuition assistance ot qualifying families. New this year is families whose 2018 taxable income is at or below 400% of the federally determined poverty rate may qualify for an award. STO funds are only available for K-12th grade students. St. Cecilia School has made arrangements to pay the $31 fee for all families to apply. Please call the school office with any questions or concerns.

Sara

Sara E. Rooney, Principal
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Kids Heart Challenge in PE
St Cecilia is proud to partner with the American Heart Association again this year! Last year, we participated in Jump Rope For Heart and this year we are kicking off Kids Heart Challenge next week! We’re excited to continue jumping rope and participating in other fun activities to help those with special hearts. Over the next few weeks, our students will be having fun learning about their heart while raising money to help fund lifesaving research. Our school goal is to raise $4000, and in addition to helping the American Heart Association, our school can earn free PE equipment. Students can earn their own Heart Hero Characters this year by using the new mobile app (download the KIDS HEART CHALLENGE app) to sign up and raise money online! Just for signing up to save lives, your child will earn a glow in the dark wristband! PLUS this year, the mobile app unlocks even more fun and the Heart Heroes and wristband come to life! All donations are due on February 25th. Students who collect at least $100 will be invited to our special heart heroes after school party in March. Thank you for helping a great cause and I look forward to all the fun heart month activities during February!
Mrs. DuBois       sdubois@stceciliaschoolames.org

SCRIP Orders
Due to the weather, not all SCRIP gift cards were received to fill the orders from this past Monday. Please note that they will be fulfilled as soon as all gift cards are received and sent home as soon as possible. Thank you.

Family School Association (FSA) News
Wrap Up Catholic Schools Week at Cardinal Gymnastics Academy – February 3rd
All are invited Sunday, February 3rd from 1-3PM at Cardinal Gymnastics Academy. Have some fun with your St Cecilia friends, siblings and parents after a great Catholic Schools Week! Jay and Mary Ronayne, and their son Jack, have again graciously offered to host our St Cecilia School family for this event. Jay is the Iowa State Head Gymnastics coach, Mary, the Director of Gymnastics Operations at ISU, and Jack, a preschool student at STC School. The event will begin with members of the ISU team showing their skills, and an opportunity to ask them questions, followed by open gym time for all to experience the different areas of the academy. There is no cost to attend the event; however a parent must accompany their child(ren). The attached waiver is needed for each child and adult to participate. Waivers can be filled out and brought with you, and will also be available at the door. All children 17 years of age and younger will need a waiver to participate, and any adult accompanying their child on the gym floor need the adult waiver, see attachments.
Check out the Cardinal Gymnastics Academy website for more information on what services they provide: cardinalgymnasticsacademy.com
Directions:
Cardinal Gymnastics Academy is located in Beyer Hall on the ISU campus. Our building is on Union Drive. Enter the building through the front doors that are located directly under the Skywalk. Go up the stairs to 2nd floor and follow the hallway to the gym. (You will pass CGA offices and see signs for I-State Gymnastics).
Parking information: University lots are free on Sundays. The lots closest to Beyer Hall are Lot 2 (West of Beyer) and Lot 3 (Northwest of Beyer).
Questions on the event? Contact Lisa Weary: 480-4936 or sept16@msn.com
Open Gym Waiver Cardinal Gymnastics
Adult Agreement Waiver Cardinal Gymnastics

St. Cecilia Gala 2019 – February 9th
“For the Greatest Kids on Earth” Register at stcamesgala.org
There is still time to register for this year’s Gala on February 9th!  We need your help decorating from 5 to 8 pm on Friday, February 8th, at the Scheman Building. Don’t forget to return raffle tickets by 3:20 pm on Friday February 8th!

School Events:
Sunday, February 3: 1-3PM Cardinal Gymnastics Academy presentation and open gym
Tuesday, February 5: 7PM Catholic School Board Meeting
Wednesday, February 6: 9AM All School Mass, 6PM Marketing Meeting and 7PM FSA Meeting
Wednesday, February 13: 9AM All School Mass followed by 2nd Grade Reception

Other Opportunities:
Ames Children’s Choir – Ames Has Talent!
Come showcase your talent at this contest for youth, grades K-12. For more information and registration, please see the flyer. Registration and check must be received by February 20th and mailed to: Ames Children’s Choirs, PO Box 1965, Ames IA 50010.
Registration for Ames Has Talent 2019

St. Cecilia Mission Statement
St. Cecilia School, an educational ministry of St. Cecilia Catholic Church, is a Christ-centered educational environment. We offer students opportunities to develop self-discipline, individual academic excellence, cultural awareness, and a commitment to lifelong service.