The board of trustees of Christian Schools International (CSI) and the board of trustees of the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) have approved a dual membership opportunity for member Christian schools.
Here are the answers to some of the questions we’ve been asked.
- What does dual membership actually mean?
Prior to this agreement, Christian schools could be members of either or both organizations. Schools that have chosen to hold membership in both CSI and ACSI have paid full dues to each. Under the dual membership agreement, schools may now become members of both and receive a 25 percent dues reduction from each organization. Because the dues structure for the two organizations is similar, in budgetary language, the school pays the equivalent of full dues to one organization and receives membership in the second at half price.
- Is a dual membership partnership intended as a first step toward a merger?
Absolutely and unequivocally, no. While both organizations are committed to the support and advancement of member Christian schools, each organization respects the mission of the other. Each believes that the other represents a perspective on Christian education that is unique to its brand, must be celebrated, and must be continued. The majority of members will likely not choose dual membership but will remain members of their current organization alone because of shared heritage, mission, beliefs, and worldview. The goal here is unity, not uniformity.
- How will the mission and vision of CSI be protected?
The CSI bylaws distinguish between regular voting members of CSI and non-voting affiliate members of CSI. The mission, basis and principles, biblical worldview, board members, and budget are approved by regular voting members. Regular voting members must state their full agreement with the CSI mission and basis and principles. These bylaw provisions insure that CSI will remain true to the faith on which it was founded and to the worldview that defines it.
- Does the partnership apply to both the US and Canada? Schools outside of North America?
At this point, the agreement pertains only to member schools in the US. ACSI has two divisions: ACSI and ACSI Global. ACSI in Canada is part of ACSI Global. Conversations have begun with ACSI Canada East and Canada West, but at this point there are no agreements proposed.
- What is the advantage of dual membership for a CSI member school?
ACSI has developed a robust ConNEXUS online professional development program that includes ASCD resources. CSI cannot duplicate ConNEXUS, but we can offer it through the dual membership option. For our schools in areas where CSI does not have a significant footprint, ACSI offers local networks, student activities, and athletic leagues that some of our member schools might value. ACSI also has a growing Terra Nova standardized testing program that might be of interest to dual members.
- What is the advantage of dual membership for an ACSI member school?
ACSI does not offer an employee benefits program; the CSI pension plan is a tremendous opportunity for ACSI member schools. As importantly, ACSI leaders believe that the underlying principle of the plan—school communities caring for each other and their staff—is an important principle for ACSI schools to consider. CSI’s leadership development programs will also add value for dual members.
- Will there be full or limited access to products and services for dual members?
Full access. Dual members will be full members of both CSI and ACSI.
- Do CSI and ACSI anticipate risks to each organization?
A 25 percent reduction in membership dues will have a budgetary impact. Both CSI and ACSI are in healthy financial positions and have planned for the potential impact of a dues reduction. But most importantly, both CSI and ACSI believe that the 25 percent reduction is worth the risk because it is a tangible demonstration to our member schools that we are committed to enhancing services and products for our members.
- Do CSI and ACSI see organizational advantages in the partnership?
The partnership will enable both CSI and ACSI to provide a fuller suite of services without individually recreating and duplicating services. For several years our accreditation program directors have led a collaborative coalition of Christian school accreditors by providing a common voice with regional accrediting bodies. CSI and ACSI formed a leadership planning team, which now includes five other organizations, to plan the jointly sponsored Global Leadership Conference in February 2017. Plans are in the works to create links between the CSI and ACSI product stores for our members. Both CSI and ACSI anticipate efforts to avoid program duplications and increase complimentary opportunities.
- Is there an advantage in the agreement to a CSI member who remains only a member of CSI or an ACSI member that only remains a member of ACSI?
Yes, member schools of both CSI and ACSI will benefit from the partnership agreement. Member schools have already benefitted indirectly through the collaborative accreditation partnership. Member schools will benefit from opportunities such as the upcoming Global Leadership Conference. We expect the list of opportunities to grow as the partnership takes shape.
If you have other questions, please contact Jeff Blamer, vice president of member services, at firstname.lastname@example.org.