Catholic School Matters
March 14, 2023
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. :
The average revenue (tuition + scholarships) per student was $4378
The Cost of Education (COE) was $7660
The amount of wages & benefits per student was $5811
Tuition revenue made up only 77% of the wages & benefits
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!
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
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?
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
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.
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
Chris Riso on Government Services
3/17/23 Last Day to Submit Erie 1 BOCES Textbook Requisitions
3/20 & 3/21 Mandated Services Data Entry Sessions
3/24/23 Save Mandated Services Claim online for C. Riso Review
3/31/23 NYSED Nonpublic Safety Equipment (NPSE) Claims Due
4/15/23 NYSED Elementary School AIS Claims Due
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
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Save the Date!
- Weekly principal Zooms at 9:00 am on Wednesdays
- 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.
- 8th grade retreat April 21st.
- Celebration (Awards Ceremony) May 30, St. Stephen's
- New Teacher Inservice (including VIRTUS), August
- School Board workshop September 22nd
- Fall Professional Development day, October 6, 2023 @ St. Mary's HS.
- School Visit Form, spring 2023.
- Devotional Calendar 2022-23.
- The Fall 2022 Diocesan Health Scorecard; The spring 2022 Diocesan Health Scorecard.
- School Pastor's Administrative Guide
- "Principal Task List." This is organized as a living Google Doc by month.
- New Policy Manual for all Catholic schools in the Diocese of Buffalo.
- New Operations Manual for Diocesan Catholic schools.
- Administrator Goal Sheet and the new Administrator evaluation form
Articles for Your Reflection
Bishop Connolly, Mount Alvernia families frustrated as Catholic high schools closing
CBS Boston NEWTON - Families are frustrated after learning that a pair of Massachusetts Catholic high schools will permanently close at the end of the school year. Mount Alvernia High School, the Newton all-girls Catholic school for grades seven through 12, will close its doors in June and merge with Fontbonne Academy in Milton.
Citing falling enrollment, St. Joan of Arc Catholic School in New Orleans will close at year's end
Plagued by falling enrollment, St. Joan of Arc School, a Roman Catholic school in the Riverbend area of New Orleans, will close at the end of this academic year, the Archdiocese of New Orleans said late Friday. The school was founded by the Sisters of the Holy Family in 1893 to serve students of color in the Carrollton area.
How Technology is Hijacking Your Mind - from a Former Insider
"It's easier to fool people than to convince them that they've been fooled." - Unknown. I'm an expert on how technology hijacks our psychological vulnerabilities. That's why I spent the last three years as a Design Ethicist at Google caring about how to design things in a way that defends a billion people's minds from getting hijacked.
Teacher turnover hits new highs across the U.S. | KQED
Since the pandemic threw U.S. schools into disarray, many educators and experts warned that more teachers would flee the profession. But in 2020, turnover dipped in many places as the economy stalled, then in 2021 it ticked back up to normal or slightly above-average levels.
Q&A: Khan Academy's Sal Khan on COVID's Staggering Impact on Student Math Skills
See previous 74 Interviews: Economist Tom Kane on the challenge of reversing learning loss, education researcher Martin West on this fall's NAEP results, and journalist Anya Kamenetz on what COVID took from a generation of American students. The full archive is . By some measures, Sal Khan is the most influential math teacher in U.S.
Catholic School Matters Podcast
This season's Catholic School Matters podcast season is on a break this month. Previous episodes:
- a conversation with Greg Dhuyvetter, the Executive Director of WCEA (Western Catholic Education Association).
- a conversation iwth Dot Teso, the president of St. Michael Indian School.
- Doug Cooper, the Executive Director of the Catholic Education Foundation of Los Angeles, joins to discuss the CEF and this fundraiser.
- Dr. Daryl Hagan, the Interim Director of the Institute for the Transformation of Catholic Education at Catholic University and the Director of the Lumen Accreditation, which is designed to serve only Catholic schools.
- a conversation with Middle States Executive Director Christian Talbot. We discuss the value of accreditation and the differences with strategic planning
- a conversation with Dylan Corbett, the Executive Director of the Hope Border Institute. He discusses the current situation on the border and their great work
Here is a link to the podcast on Apple Podcasts.
My Last 5 Books
- The Idealist: Jeffrey Sachs and the Quest to End Poverty (2013) by Nina Munk
The Tyranny of Experts: Economists, Dictators, and the Forgotten Rights of the Poor (2014) by William Easterly
Towards a Politics of Communion: Catholic Social Teaching in Dark Times (2021) by Anna Rowlands.
Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty (2011) by Abhijit V. Banergee & Esther Duflo
Click this link for a full list of my professional reading
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.