Mount Olive Lutheran School

Think you can't afford a private education?

Think again!

We believe enrollment at MTO should not be limited to families who can afford to pay full tuition.  MTO offers financial aid and scholarships.  In fact, 50% of our families receive some level of financial aid based on their need.  Working with the Heart Of Iowa School Tuition Organization (STO), families are able to apply for financial aid at MTO by simply filling out an application and submitting a copy of pages 1 & 2 of their tax forms.  Speak with a member of our admissions team during your personalized visit to MTO about applying for financial aid.  We pride ourselves on making a private education possible for every family!

SCHOOL CHOICE FAQ

WHAT IS THE PHILOSOPHY BEHIND SCHOOL CHOICE?

School choice puts parents in the driver’s seat of their children’s education by giving families access to their taxpayer funded education dollars.  Empowered with financial means, families can use those dollars to access the education provider that best meets the needs of their children.  All parents deserve choice, not just those with financial means.  With school choice, taxpayer funding follows the child.  School choice applies to all educational options:  Christian schools (tax credit scholarships, education savings accounts), homeschooling, and public schools (charter schools, open enrollment).  34 states have school choice programs.  Polling indicates 72% of voters nationwide support school choice (https://www.federationforchildren.org/new-poll-72-support-for-school-choice/) and 77% of current Iowa school parents support a universal Education Savings Account (https://www.iowaace.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/IowaACE_OnePager_K-12_School_Choice_Polling11.pdf).

WHAT IS AN EDUCATION SAVINGS ACCOUNT (ESA)? HOW WOULD ONE BENEFIT ME AND MY CHILD(REN)?

ESAs give parents the power to use some of their child’s education tax dollars on approved education expenses like tuition, tutoring, educational supports, and more.  Families receive funds in an account and use that money to customize an education to fit their child’s needs.  9 states currently have ESAs, and Iowa may make number 10.

WON'T AN ESA TAKE MONEY AWAY FROM THE PUBLIC SCHOOL? WHERE DOES THE FUNDING COME FROM?

Funding for an ESA comes from taxpayer dollars – dollars paid by you as a taxpayer living in Iowa.  School choice advocates believe that funding should follow the child, supporting students and not systems.  Some may say that “public dollars support public services”.  But where do public dollars come from?  The taxpayer.  Taxpayer funding already supports various programs in Iowa, such as the GI Bill, WIC, SNAP, the Iowa Tuition Grant (for colleges), and preschool funding.  The only level of education in Iowa not supported by taxpayer funding that does not have to be fundraised (NICSTO) is K-12 education.  It’s important to understand the public-school funding formula.  On average, Iowa total spending per student in public schools is $14,320.  About 47% of this funding comes from federal funding and local property taxes (about $6,700 per student).  That money – paid partly by parents choosing to send their children to Christian schools – stays with the public school in an ESA program.  Funding used for an ESA is state taxpayer funding (about $7,600 per student in Iowa), which would be directed to parents to use how they choose for the education of their children.  (Source:  https://www.edchoice.org/school-choice/state/iowa/ – click on Fast Facts)    

WILL ACCEPTING ESA FUNDING CAUSE SCCS TO COMPROMISE ITS VALUE?

SCCS is working closely to partner with legislators, lobbyists, and advocates to ensure that an ESA bill does not cause us to compromise our values.  SCCS will never accept funding that compromises its values.  With an ESA, the funding is directed to the parent, who then chooses where those dollars go.  Funding does not come directly to the school.  SCCS has already accepted taxpayer credit dollars (NICSTO), Title services, and other funding for decades without needing to compromise our values.

WHAT IF THE ESA IS PROVIDED AND THEN GOES AWAY?

The likelihood of an ESA being provided and taken away is low.  Across the country, no school choice program that has been implemented and had students enroll in it has ever been repealed by a state legislature.  For several decades in Iowa, SCCS parents have benefited from NICSTO funding, nonpublic textbook services, bus reimbursements, and more.  Once a program begins and students benefit, parents become supporters and advocates.  Lawmakers keep these programs because they benefit the common good.