Catholic School Matters

March 14, 2023

Financial Metrics

Yesterday we sent out a request to all elementary schools to send in their mid-year financial reports along with their annual budget. Although the Diocese does not financially support any Catholic schools during this Chapter 11 process, I wanted to highlight the value of collaboration.

We have been able to identify 22% as the average subsidy for parish schools over the last 6 fiscal years. With an average school budget of approximately $1.5 million, that translates to $330k. With the average parish collection falling below $1 million, a 33% subsidy is not sustainable long-term. As annual collections fall, these subsidy amounts look to be further jeopardized. These figures should help parish schools in their budgeting and long-term planning.

Based on last fall’s financials from 22 elementary schools, we were able to identify a few new financial metrics. :

  1. The average revenue (tuition + scholarships) per student was $4378

  2. The Cost of Education (COE) was $7660

  3. The amount of wages & benefits per student was $5811

  4. Tuition revenue made up only 77% of the wages & benefits

  5. The amount of subsidy per student (for parish schools) was $1698

It is interesting to note how much these metrics are driven by enrollment. We’ve known that a higher student population translates to higher revenue and better financial health of a school. But these new metrics show how lower enrollments can impact the school.

Comparing two schools with similar configurations (one class per grade) and similar tuitions will bring this into focus. The first school has an enrollment of 192 and a total budget for wages & benefits of $1.03 million. The second school has an enrollment of 255 and a wages/benefits budget of $1.23 million. The COE for the first school is $7151 while the second school is at $5893. The first school requires $80k more in subsidy.

We continue to ask for $1500 per student from parishes without schools. However, without financial transparency from our schools (such as the mid-year report!), it’s a difficult sell. With your cooperation, we can continue to build better and more accurate metrics which will help in budgeting and appeals to these parishes.

Previous blogs can be found here. Want to keep up with the conversations surrounding Catholic education? Set up your own Google Alert, subscribe to this newsletter by clicking "follow," subscribe to the Catholic Schools Daily, or subscribe to the Catholic School Matters podcast.

Dr. Tim Uhl

Kari Buchinger on Academics

Our first Diocese of Buffalo Science Fair was a hit! This past Saturday we had 54 students representing 17 Catholic Schools join us to show off their investigative skills. Students made inspiring creations and answered some questions we all have. For example, what type of laundry detergent is the best? Will a rooftop garden help keep your house cool? Or, what types of germs are floating around your school? Thank you to all of the schools, teachers, and parents that supported students in this year’s science fair. We can’t wait until next year!

Congratulations to all of our Science Fair Winners!

Honorable Mention:

Margaret Manning, DeSales- Better Batter Through Butter

Lianna Bouquard-Nicholson, Our Lady of Victory- Slime Velocity

Samuel Kulumeta, Catholic Academy of West Buffalo- How Does Bacteria Act in Cold?

Isabella Weber, St. Gregory- M&M Mimicry

Life Sciences:

1st Place- Kate Biniasz, Christ the King- Detergent Dilemma

2nd Place- Cohen Zaleski, St. John Alden- Bad Germs and Bacteria In My School

3rd Place- Ella Pawelczyk, St. Stephen- I Love Popping Boba, But How Is It Made?

Physical Science:

1st Place- Jason Swisher and Jack Townsell, Christ the King- Which Type of Chocolate Melts the Fastest?

2nd- Kane Ranney, St. John Alden- Barking Dog Experiment

3rd- Ellie LeRoy and Ava Casillo, St. John Alden- Elephant Toothpaste

Earth and Space:

1st Place Gaia Digiore, St. Benedict

2nd Place McKenzie Cedro, Saints Peter and Paul Williamsville


1st Place Caylen Jackson, Catholic Academy of West Buffalo- Whose Fault

2nd Place Charlotte Balcom, Christ the King- Rooftop Garden

3rd Place Ian Reynolds, St. John Kenmore- Skimmer Boats Away

Testing Tip!

Do you have students that struggle with testing anxiety? This video has some tips to help your students recognize their anxiety and learn a few tools to help them prepare for the NYS tests.


All Golden Apple and St. Sebastian nominations submitted by March 27.

Looking for some fun projects to challenge your students’ problem solving skills? Don’t forget about our STREAM website!

Previous "Academic Corner" posts from Kari

Office Updates

  1. Here's the link to the slide deck from last week's Principal meeting.

  2. Here's the link to the Office Blog

Chris Riso on Government Services

Mandated Services Update: I wanted to remind you that there are only 14 school days until the 4/1/23 Mandated Services claim submission deadline, so if you have not started working on your claim I would encourage you to start this week. See my March 7, 2023 post for more information about this process. Click here for info on the Mandated Services Data Entry Sessions 3/20 & 3/21 for those who have completed their Excel spreadsheets and “Form 2” and want to enter the data online with me nearby for questions. Please email me if you want me to look your claim over once it has been entered online (but NOT submitted!) on the NYSED Business Portal by 3/24/23. Any reviews left until after that date may result in insufficient time to correct any areas of concern prior to the submission deadline. Also, please forward to me any “Hold” or “Post Review” emails you get from the state that request follow-up on your end to resolve a claim.

Previous posts from Mr. Riso

Athletics Info

  • Congratulations to our basketball champions!
  • Boys Division 1: Nativity/Miguel School (St. Augustine)
  • Boys Division 2: Nativity of Mary
  • Girls Division 1: Nativity of Our Lord
  • Girls Division 2: St. Peter's/Stella Niagara
  • Please see the athletics/activities blog for the most up to date information
  • Brian Ferris is our new Diocesan athletics director. He can be reached at

Save the Date!

  1. Weekly principal Zooms at 9:00 am on Wednesdays
  2. Catholic High School information nights March 21st Nativity of Our Lord, March 28th St. Andrew CDS, 6-7:30 pm each night. Open to all students/parents in grades 6-8.
  3. 8th grade retreat April 21st.
  4. Celebration (Awards Ceremony) May 30, St. Stephen's
  5. New Teacher Inservice (including VIRTUS), August
  6. School Board workshop September 22nd
  7. Fall Professional Development day, October 6, 2023 @ St. Mary's HS.


  1. School Visit Form, spring 2023.
  2. Devotional Calendar 2022-23.
  3. The Fall 2022 Diocesan Health Scorecard; The spring 2022 Diocesan Health Scorecard.
  4. School Pastor's Administrative Guide
  5. "Principal Task List." This is organized as a living Google Doc by month.
  6. New Policy Manual for all Catholic schools in the Diocese of Buffalo.
  7. New Operations Manual for Diocesan Catholic schools.
  8. Administrator Goal Sheet and the new Administrator evaluation form

Articles for Your Reflection

Catholic School Matters Podcast

This season's Catholic School Matters podcast season is on a break this month. Previous episodes:

Here is a link to the podcast on Apple Podcasts.

Catholic School Matters

A weekly newsletter of resources to spur enrollment and excellence in our Catholic schools.

Location: Buffalo, NY, USA
Phone: 716-847-5520
Twitter: @WNYCatholicEd

Past Issues of Catholic School Matters

March 7, 2023 "Operating Principles"

Feb 28th "How to Use the Newsletter"

Feb 14th "Activities & Retention"

Feb 7th "Anchor Churches"

Jan 31, 2023 "Catholic Schools Week"

Jan 24, 2023 "Accreditation"

For previous newsletters, click this link

A few years ago I set out to write a book which would explore the challenges of Catholic school leadership. My premise that there are no easy answers and that we have to learn from our (and other's) mistakes in order to form a mindset appropriate for orchestrating conflict proved prescient as we all faced completely new and unexpected challenges in 2020. The book,Orchestrating Conflict: Case Studies in Catholic Leadership is now available on Amazon or on the Barnes & Noble site in print or e-book formats. The book explores issues in Catholic school leadership and the tensions between building community and following Church policies and introduces deliberate practice as a method for leadership formation.