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May 24, 2021 Letter from Fr. Draper

May 24, 2021

Dear St. Anne Parish, School, and Preschool Academy Families,

Along with our School Principal, Mr. Michael Armato, I want to thank all our St. Anne School staff, teachers, volunteers, students, and families for all their cooperation and sacrifices over this last year. From navigating Coronavirus restrictions to learning at alternate locations, our students and staff have shown tremendous resilience over these past nine months. I am very proud of all of you! I am continuing to work with our Diocese in securing an additional bid for the repairs of our Church and School building. The peaked and arched laminate beams supporting our Church roof require a highly specialized kind of repair work, which adds to the challenge in finding qualified contractors. Nevertheless, we are 100% committed to returning to our own Church and School building and will keep working until all the repairs are completed, and we are back home. Over the summer, I ask you please to keep myself and this project in your prayers, especially through the intercession of St. Joseph, the Worker.

We sincerely hope to begin next school year in our own building. In the event, however, that repairs to our building are still underway, all our PreK and K-8 students and staff will begin the next school year together at one alternate location. I want to express my profound gratitude to St. Patrick Catholic Church, Sauk Valley Community College, and My Play Village for their hospitality and generosity toward our St. Anne Church and School community these past three months. While none of us could have expected or would have wished for this alternative arrangement during this time, it, nevertheless, has providentially afforded the members of our Parish and School community the opportunity to form deeper bonds with one another and with others in the larger Dixon community.

I appreciate everyone’s patience with the publication of our tuition rates for the upcoming academic year. Over the past two months, I have conducted an in-depth study of the finances of St. Anne School. To assist with this study, I formed an Ad Hoc Committee for School Finances which met for two 2 ½ hour meetings over the past two weeks. The Ad Hoc Committee was composed of members representing the St. Anne Finance Council, Pastoral Council, Education Council, and parish at large. The members provided Mr. Armato and myself valuable insights and feedback regarding the financial status of our School and appropriate costs for student tuition and student fees.

Our records show that the last time tuition costs increased was two years ago (for academic year 2019-2020). That also was the last time teacher salaries increased, since the financial uncertainty resulting from the Coronavirus pandemic prompted our Diocese to put a freeze on salaries for fiscal year 2020-2021. As you all know, our teachers have worked tremendously hard this past year to provide a Catholic education for our students amidst unprecedented circumstances. For our School to offer a salary increase to our teachers that keeps up with the rate of inflation as well as to afford the increased costs of providing health insurance to our full time teachers and staff, it is necessary for us to increase the cost of tuition as well.

The tuition rates for academic year 2021-2022 will increase by 3% compared to last year. For this upcoming academic year, there will also be a $25 increase to technology fees for our K-8 students. This means that, for a family with one student in our K-8 program, the total increase for tuition and fees will be $130 for the upcoming academic year. This increase will assist toward providing the financial stability needed for us to be able to provide an excellent Catholic education to our students for the future. While the tuition rates will increase by 3%, we are introducing a deeper discount for families with four students. To encourage and attract large families to St. Anne School, our fourth child discount will increase from 50% to 75%. For a list of the 2021-2022 tuition rates, please click here.

For families who only have students in our Preschool Academy, we are introducing this year a $50 SCRIP card fundraising commitment. The additional fundraising from our Preschool families will assist in meeting the financial needs of our Preschool. In addition to tuition and fundraising income, St. Anne Parish provides a large subsidy to St. Anne School each year to keep tuition costs affordable. The budgeted subsidy amounts to 40% of the Parish’s “ordinary income.” This “ordinary income” is comprised of Church collections for Sundays, Holy Days of Obligation, Easter, and Christmas, as well as special donations to the Church at the time of baptisms, weddings, and funerals. The budgeted Parish subsidy to St. Anne School for the 2021-2022 school year amounts to $169,093.58. This subsidy, along with School fundraising and School donations, amount to nearly half of the total income for the K-8 portion of our School. Without these additional sources of School income, our tuition costs would have to be more than double what they are to cover the costs of educating our students. In advance, I thank all our families for your generous donations and your help with School fundraising, both of which are tremendously important for keeping our tuition costs affordable for everyone.

As you probably know, at the end of this academic year, some of our St. Anne School teachers and staff will be retiring or moving on to other employment opportunities. We promise them our prayers and very best wishes for the future. In the weeks ahead, we will be securing replacements to fill these positions for the upcoming school year.

Please know that I very am grateful and honored to be your priest and pastor. I look forward to beginning a fresh, new school year with our students and staff after a much deserved summer break. May God bless you, and Mary keep you!

Fr. Timothy Draper,