Principal’s Post for July 6, 2023

Updated Information

There are a lot of moving pieces to registration this year!  Much of the information describing the process below is repeated, but I’ll put all new information in this Principal’s Post in italics.

Pre-Registration for 2023-24

Pre-Registration Process:  All preschool, kindergarten, returning and new families will need to enter information through the pre-registration/application survey.

Why would I do pre-registration, if we’re already on to the “official registration?”  In the transition to Scott County Catholic Schools, we have multiple new systems.  Each of them is pulling information from your various entries differently, and the information is being used differently and at different times.  Until we can get them all linked, it’s best to do all of the steps.  The pre-registration survey is, for example, how we are getting contact information for new families to be able to include them in mass emails, such as one with a link to this Principal’s Post.  (Information entered through the official registration process mentioned below will not be available in email systems until late July or August.)  Transitioning multiple systems may also be why some families are receiving email for students who are no longer able to attend an SCCS school.   

To access the survey, click HERE.  Families will need to pay the registration fee for K-8, three year old preschool, or “non-qualifying” four/five year old preschool* OR the extra time fee for an “IA preschool” four year old preschool. The registration fee is $125 per PK-12 student for a maximum of $375 per family. The extra time fee for four year old preschoolers is $250 per child. These “one time” fees can be paid online by following the link in the pre-registration/application survey or this link and using the “one time” payment option: registration fee. Checks can also be made payable to JFK and sent to the school office.

*A non-qualifying preschooler is a non-Iowa resident or student who turns 5 on or before Sept 15th. Tuition is charged for this student, and there is a registration fee. There is no extra time fee.

Official Registration for 2023-24

Official Registration Process:  SCCS registration link or use the following link/url:

After completing the pre-registration process and making the registration payment, the next step is to submit the official registration application information through the online form.  Through this process, you will be entering names, grades, primary and emergency contact information, medical information, race, ethnicity, religious affiliation, and more.  You may want to have this information handy before you begin the process.  For all JFK students, you will want to click on the “New Registration” button.  Also, make sure you change the school year to 2023-24.

Once your information has been successfully submitted, your official registration application will move toward approval.

ESA Applications for 2023-24

Although the June 30th deadline has passed, Odyssey is still dealing with some pending and manual review applications.  There will also be additional steps (some of which are mentioned below) that families who receive an ESA will have to take to authorize the state funds to be transferred to SCCS to pay their tuition bills.

ESA Application:

If you are an Iowa resident with an incoming Kindergarten student, a transfer student from a public school or a transfer student from home-school, you need to apply. There is no income qualifier for you to meet.

If you are an Iowa resident with returning students and line 26 (gross income) on your Iowa return(s) is less than 300% of poverty, then you should also apply.  Below is a 2023 chart demonstrating 300% of poverty:

Family Size 300% poverty Family Size 300% poverty
1 $43,740 5 $105,420
2 $59,160 6 $120,840
3 $74,580 7 $136,260
4 $90,000 8 $151,680
If more than 8 in family, add $15,420 for each additional member

All families currently receiving FTP financial assistance should apply to the ESA program first.  An ESA application tutorial is available here: Application Training Webinars for Families section.  If you do not qualify, then you should apply to the Family Tuition Plan ASAP.

The ESA application deadline is June 30th.

After the deadline, there will probably be another step for those receiving an ESA.  You will probably have to go back into the state system and actually direct funds to be transferred to an SCCS school.  So far, approved families will receive the funds in an ESA account.  Families will then have to direct/transfer the funds out of the ESA account to pay for qualified educational expenses like tuition at a private school.  We’ve heard that this next step won’t take place until at least July 15th.

Other Financial Assistance Application for 2023-24

If you do not qualify for an ESA this year, you may qualify for the Family Tuition Plan since the criteria for that program is 400% of poverty (also using line 26 of the Iowa return.) Families that have not applied in the past may be surprised to find that tuition support is available through this program since many of our previous recipients will be helped through the ESA program.  The application for the FTP is available at:

If you do not have access to a computer or otherwise find yourself unable to complete the ESA application independently, you may email or call 326.5313 ext. 229.

SCCS Tuition Billing Process for 2023-24

In the past, our Catholic schools used paper “tuition contracts” to set up payment arrangements.  Now, SCCS is using an online system through the Blackbaud software system.  You will receive an email from saying “Important information about your Blackbaud Tuition Management enrollment for Scott County Catholic Schools.”  Follow the directions and process outlined in that email.  I am also emailing an attachment along with this Principal’s Post link with more detailed directions regarding the tuition billing process.

No one at JFK has access to Blackbaud; it’s all done through the SCCS business office located at Assumption High School.  Rose Strickland is trying to keep up with the new system and processes there.  Her contact information is or 563-326-5313.  Below are a few comments/notes that I have based upon what we’ve heard and seen when looking at screenshots sent to us or from staff members who have children at SCCS showing us their Blackbaud screens:

  • The details start with a gross amount before any discounts.  One of the discounts that has been applied and you should see in the most detailed bill area is one for those who are members of supporting parishes.  That’s about $2,200 per child.
  • Multi-child discounts still need to be applied.  
  • Employee discounts still need to be applied.
  • Private pay discounts still need to be applied.  That’s about $200 for a parish supported family and $300 for a non-parish supported family.  “Private pay” is the phrase being used for those not yet eligible for an ESA and who are paying tuition themselves.  So far, a number of people have been wondering why they are calculating a tuition rate of $4,580 on their detailed bill when the letter in April said the tuition rate is $4,380.  The difference is the $200 discount for “private pay.”
  • There is a new $25 textbook fee per student.  One of the last actions of the state legislation this spring was to eliminate state textbook money for private schools.  That was about $25 per student.  Next year, we’ll be able to take the loss of state revenue into account, but it happened this year after tuition rates were set, and budgeting was nearly complete.  
  • The software system automatically charged the 4 year old paying families preschool tuition rate.  No tuition rate should have appeared at all on statements, and the SCCS business office was working over the weekend on this issue.  Occasionally, there are 5 year olds in the 4 year old PS program or a family lives in IL, and these families need to pay a tuition as the state of Iowa does not pay for their preschool education. 
  • ESA payments have not yet been received.  This is not even a possibility until at least July 15th, we’ve been told.
  • Other financial assistance from the Family Tuition Plan and STOs has not yet been applied. 
  • Although there is no option in Blackbaud, the SCCS business office said they can determine a way for families to make weekly payments for ECLC/wraparound care.  You will need to contact that office directly to arrange for those payments.

Tuition payments for 2023-24 begin in July unless using the 10 month payment option.  Tuition is billed at the gross amount less any discounts (like multi-child discounts and parish membership discounts) and financial aid.  Due to the many steps involved in registration this year, the timing of ESAs, etc., not all discounts and financial aid have been posted to families’ accounts yet; they will be posted as soon as available.  Because of this delay, late payment fees will be waived.  However, please remember that schools have bills to pay over the entire year, the biggest of which is payroll.  Teachers, who have their own bills to pay too, are paid over 12 months so cash flow during the summer is just as important as it is throughout the rest of the year.  If you need to estimate your tuition payments for now, please do so.

Why have these tuition statements now and involve Blackbaud now if the bills do not yet reflect all of the discounts?  I do not have the definitive answer, but I suspect it has to do with cash flow.  SCCS needs to have some revenue coming in during July.  SCCS, for example, just received the bill for about 2/3 of the paper that we’ll use during the school year at JFK.  That’s several thousand dollars.  We’re ready to order nearly $40,000 in textbooks for JFK, and JFK’s July payroll will likely be over $100,000.  Multiply that by five schools, and SCCS needs to have some revenue coming in to offset the bills that are beginning to arrive. 

If you need to estimate your tuition payments for a couple of months until everything settles into place, please do so.  We’d rather have something coming in than nothing at all.  A good estimate to use could be about 5% more than you paid last year, as that was the increase percentage.  Again, late payment fees are currently being waived.

Tuition Rates for Paying Families

 The tuition rates for those not yet eligible for ESAs was contained in an April 27th letter.  It can be found here:  ESA Letter and Tuition Rates for Paying Families Letter, 4-27-23. As anticipated the tuition rates for those not eligible for ESAs increased by about 5% at the elementary level and 3% at Assumption, which is about its historical average.  Please note that the actual cost to educate a student in SCCS is over $8,000.  Tuition covers just over about 50% of the cost.  Parish subsidies and fundraising cover the rest.  The SCCS “tuition contracts” will show the parish discounts applied to students’/families’ accounts.

Scott County Catholic School tuition rates for preschool, with or without wraparound care, are in the linked document:  Preschool Tuition Rates JFK

Finalizing Payments for 2022-23

Please finish making your 2022-23 payments to OLV/JFK as soon as possible.  You don’t want to mix your payments to OLV/JFK with SCCS.  Payments due for 2022-23, including delinquent tuition, fees, aftercare balances, lunch balances, fines, etc. go to OLV and/or JFK.  Payments for 2023-24 will go through SCCS.

Open Positions at JFK for 2023-24

JFK is currently seeking a K-8 music teacher for the 2023-24 school year.  If interested, please send me a cover letter, resume, copy of one’s Iowa license, and references.  The hiring process will also involve Scott County Catholic Schools, but these steps would good first ones.

Other positions, both teaching and instructional/childcare aides, may be available as details of federal funding are finalized, and final enrollment figures are known. 

We also currently have an opening for an assistant principal.  Mr. Connors is taking an administrative position elsewhere.  If interested in an administrative position at JFK, please send me a cover letter, resume, copy of one’s Iowa license, and references.  

PE Uniform

JFK’s gym clothes policy has been tightened up for grades 5-8.  Fifth-8th graders may still wear their PE clothes rather than their school uniform on days when they have PE, but they will now need to wear a PE uniform on those days.  The PE uniform consists of a gym t-shirt and gym shorts, both of which must be purchased through the school identified vendor.  (Sixth-8th graders already have the black shorts, but those students needing new shorts will have to order them from the new vendor.)  Instead of the gym shorts, students may wear gym sweatpants or loose fitting athletic pants purchased through the school identified vendor.  We are working to get some items at JFK for those who need to try on the apparel for sizing.

JFK and St. Paul’s are both using Handicapped Development Center as the vendor for gym clothes.  The link to HDC’s site for JFK, which includes more information about the gym clothes policy, is HERE, or you can use the following: