Dear Ascension Early Childhood Center Family,
Ascension has had ministries for children for almost its entire 70-year history. We see our outreach to children and families in our community as being a cornerstone to who we are as a congregation and as disciples of Christ.
Never in our history have we encountered a closing of our facilities to the extent we face these days. We understand the hardship this has created for so many of you who rely on us to provide excellent care and education for your children. Please know that this temporary closure was the result of significant discussion among our leadership and ultimately compliance with federal and state mandates to ensure the safety of our children and staff. These immediate and unanticipated closures have resulted in a rapidly rising financial strain on many levels. We are asking you to help us make it through the next several months with all of our programs and staffing in place once the Coronavirus threat eases.
We run our programs very leanly, and do not build large reserves. Our philosophy is that we’d like all monies to go directly to benefitting the children, students and families we serve. Part of that has to do with trusting God to provide the funds when we need them. In our 70-plus-year history, God has done this exactly and we know He will continue to do so, although it may be in ways we haven’t fully anticipated. This letter is to share our plan with you for getting through this challenging time:
- The Early Childhood Center remains closed at this time. Our top priority is the safety of our students and teachers. We are currently discussing how and when the ECC could be reopened safely and will keep you posted.
- We will not collect any tuition starting on April 1st until we are able to reopen. Any payments you have already made to TADS for April or later will be applied to when we continue the school year. If we cannot open before the school year ends, refunds will be made available at that time.
- We are doing everything we can to take care of the heart of our school, our beloved teachers. We decided to shift our Spring break to this week (March 23-27) so that we could pay our teachers for an additional week. If we are not able to re-open as of April 1st, we will retain our teachers by placing them on furlough. This will allow us to continue to pay their medical benefits during this difficult time. It will also make them eligible to apply for unemployment, which, because we have opted to carry this insurance, will allow them to receive approximately half of their current income.
- Can you help? The expense of doing this was of course not budgeted and will put a strain on the school so we are asking if you would consider giving a portion of your tuition. If each family donated at least 30% of their normal tuition, it would give us the ability to break even at the end of the year. We will provide further information by April 1st how you can make donations.
- Your contributions would become a charitable donation that would help us pay teachers’ full medical insurance expense and keep our school ready for re-opening.
This plan requires mutual sacrifice and we are grateful that some of you have already expressed your willingness to partner in this. Ascension is truly an amazing community that is enduring this unprecedented time with grace. In that same spirit, if this creates an unsustainable hardship for any of you, we want to work with you. Please let us know. We will continue to update you with any changes, so if we can re-open the Early Childhood Center sooner, we will.
Pastor Tim Delkeskamp
Ascension Lutheran School Board