FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Answers about the Commission on Lutheran Schools (CLS) Supplemental Support Program
WHAT IS THE CLS SUPPLEMENTAL SUPPORT PROGRAM?
Beginning in July 2007 all WELS Lutheran schools (early childhood, elementary, and high school) were asked to provide an enrollment-based contribution to support the work of the WELS Commission on Lutheran Schools.
WHAT CIRCUMSTANCES LED TO THIS CHANGE IN FUNDING?
Financial challenges faced by the Wisconsin Synod resulted in severe budget cutbacks across every WELS ministry division since 2003. The new program was established to ensure full staffing of the Lutheran Schools office and restoration of defunded support services.
HOW WAS THE DECISION MADE TO IMPLEMENT THIS NEW PROGRAM?
A synod-wide feasibility study was conducted to explore alternative funding sources. Input from local leaders in every district lead to the proposal of an enrollment-based fee system. The plan was presented at district conventions. Based on feedback from the districts, the fee system was replaced with a voluntary contribution plan which makes all CLS programs accessible to every school, but features a two-tiered pricing plan where contributing schools receive significant discounts on subscription services.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF CONTRIBUTING TO CLS?
The most important benefit you can claim by means of your school’s contribution is the satisfaction of knowing you are making a difference by contributing to the greater good of WELS schools. Your contribution helps to preserve and strengthen support for an important form of gospel proclamation in our world—WELS Lutheran schools.
The CLS supplemental contribution plan is an opportunity for WELS schools to demonstrate their commitment to walk together as a school system. WELS budgetary support for the Commission on Lutheran Schools is no longer sufficient to cover the salaries of our office staff and basic office operations. Your school’s contribution is vital to ensure the most basic and assumed synod services for Lutheran schools such call list development, the Team Ministry Process, and District Coordinator services continue into the future.
Your school’s contribution will ensure that basic and important services are available for all WELS schools and will establish the opportunity for such services to grow and be strengthened.
WHAT TANGIBLE BENEFITS WILL SCHOOLS RECEIVE FOR SUPPORTING CLS?
Contributing schools will receive tangible benefits such as a complimentary electronic subscription to the quarterly newsletter Parents Crosslink (currently 3.00 per copy); a complimentary subscription to Learn360, the new online video-streaming library; one annual on-site visit from your school counselor; the monthly Council for American Private Schools (CAPE) newsletter, and preferred rates on all CLS services, subscriptions, and event registrations. Most schools will find their overall costs will actually be reduced by contributing to CLS.
HOW MUCH IS EACH SCHOOL ASKED TO CONTRIBUTE?
The rates remain unchanged from the previous year: 1) ECM $7.50/student; 2) LES $7.50/student; 3) LHS $4.00/student.
AM I TO INCLUDE OUR PRESCHOOL ENROLLMENT?
Normally preschools would be included unless they are self-standing preschools with separate local budgeting/bookkeeping functions. It is up to the local congregation to determine whether they wish to make a separate contribution as a preschool or a combined contribution (or none at all).
The enrollment information provided through the online payment center is not related to CLS school statistical reports, but is only used by the payment center to calculate totals for the various services and subscriptions that can be purchased.
IS THE SUGGESTED CONTRIBUTION AMOUNT EXPECTED TO INCREASE?
CLS had planned to make one final increase in the per-student contribution to $10 for LES and ECM and $5 for LHS in fall 2011, but for the time being have chosen not to do so. We pray God will bless our schools so current enrollment trends reverse, the school system grows, and more children are provided with the saving truth of the gospel each year. An increase may still occur in the future depending on the economy and the amount of synodical support of the Commission on Lutheran Schools.
HOW WILL SCHOOLS AFFORD TO MAKE THESE CONTRIBUTIONS?
Schools are encouraged to pass this cost along to parents in the form of increased registration/school fees or tuition.
HOW WILL SCHOOLS SEND THEIR CONTRIBUTIONS TO CLS?
An online payment center has been developed to receive supplemental contributions and payments for various CLS programs, services, and events.
WHY USE THE PAYMENT CENTER?
The CLS office asks that you make use of the new online Payment Center. The web center was designed to minimize the labor-intensive tasks and time necessary to process subscriptions for all of our schools.
WHAT METHOD OF PAYMENT DO YOU ACCEPT?
You can pay with the following credit cards: Mastercard, Visa, Discover, American Express. (Note that we are unable to process any payment using a debit card.) If your school does not have a credit card, you may use a personal credit card and request reimbursement from your treasurer. If you are unable to make a payment electronically you may print a payment coupon, complete it and mail it to the CLS office along with your check (payable to CLS) You may provide your credit card or checking account information for processing in our office. Please add a $25.00 processing fee to the total.
WHAT SORT OF REFUNDS AND MARKETING PERMISSIONS ARE REFERRED TO ON THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS PAGE?
Events such as the WELS National Leadership Conference or CLS Summer District Workshops require a registration fee for attendance. There are cases where an individual registers for such an event, but is not able to attend. CLS seeks to work with individuals and schools on a case by case basis and refunds those registration fees if necessary. (Example: a principal registers for leadership conference knowing that his wife is expecting a baby a month after the conference; the baby comes early and there are complications preventing the principal from attending the event so CLS refunds the registration fee.)
The various school promotion campaigns developed by CLS are legally registered for exclusive use by WELS schools. That legal registration requires the marketing themes are used in a specific way. While CLS allows all schools to freely use those marketing themes, they must be used according to the original graphic design and cannot be graphically redesigned by individual schools. CLS does not sell marketing services to individual schools, but has authorized outside agencies (currently Zymbok Advertising) to use the registered promotional themes to assist individual schools. Contracts and fees for such services are determined by individual arrangement between the school and the outside agency.
HOW DO I KNOW WHETHER CLS HAS RECEIVED MY CONTRIBUTION OR PAYMENT?
After completing the contribution payment, you will receive an email confirmation from CLS services granting you the discount for any additional purchases. This email will be generated to you within five business days to the address used to complete your school information form. This email will also serve as your receipt of payment.
WILL I GAIN IMMEDIATE ACCESS TO DE STREAMING AFTER PAYING?
For new customers it will take 5-10 business days after you pay for your DE Streaming subscription to obtain your schools passcode from Discovery Education.
If you re-subscribe prior to October 1, your service will continue without interruption. If you choose not to re-subscribe, your service will be cancelled.
HOW SOON WILL I HAVE ACCESS TO MY COMPLIMENTARY LEARN360 ACCOUNT?
You will receive your access link for Learn360 within ten days after submitting a CLS Support contribution. If you were a contributor to CLS last year, your access to Learn360 will remain uninterrupted.
WHAT IF I DO NOT SEE A REFUND CREDIT ON MY CREDIT CARD STATEMENT?
If you request a refund, please note that the WELS accounting office is not able to process a refund credit to your account until the original payment comes through. If you do not see the credit on your monthly statement, it is likely that your statement was prepared between the time of the original purchase and the credit refund.
WHAT IS THE DUE DATE FOR MAKING A CONTRIBUTION?
While there is no due date for making a contribution to Lutheran Schools, subscriptions to PowerSchool, Curriculum Mapper and DE Streaming are due October 1. To take advantage of the savings offered on subscriptions you will need to make a contribution by October 1.
For any questions or concerns about the CLS Support Contribution program, email our office at firstname.lastname@example.org.