Principal’s Notebook: 10/2/2014

Just The Facts

I am going to start to write a little bit of financial information in each issue of my weekly newsletter. I do not want to overwhelm readers so I will just go over a little information here and there. This issue will offer some thoughts on subsidy and the cost of education.

Last year, in the White Paper (PDF), which is slowly evolving into our strategic plan, I wrote a good amount on the subsidy. This is the money Holy Rosary Parish gives to Holy Rosary School to support the institution. I look upon subsidy as the largest “gift” the school receives each year.

I have to admit that I did not realize that the subsidy included depreciation in its calculation— whether or not it was funded. In my opinion, this is not the way that subsidies are usually looked at, so comparing us with other parish schools was a bit difficult. Our subsidy appeared to be extraordinarily large, on a comparative basis. But that is because it added depreciation into its computation.

Now, as I look at last year’s actual cash numbers, I no longer think the subsidy was excessive. The real cash amount the church gave to the school during the 2013-2014 academic/fiscal year was $139,912—about 11% of the Ordinary Income for the Parish. This is a little below the average in our system. The year before (2012/2013) it was $278,640, which was 22%, and this year (2014/2015) it is budgeted at $201,282.

I am not sure about the reason for the fluctuation. I am, however, withdrawing my recommendation from the “White Paper” calling for a drastic reduction in subsidy. For the sake of both of our budgets we need to get a more constant number and I am pushing for that. The number is probably around $160,000, and it is all cash. That is one of the topics the School Commission will be discussing with Father Madigan this year.

The “Cost of Education”, which I look at as actual cash spent out of a budget in a single year, is an interesting topic. I am not including depreciation in this. And that is a problem most Catholic Schools have. Deferred and unfunded building needs and technology upgrades are behind the need for Capital Campaigns and public school levies.

But on a strictly cash flow basis—meaning what we are going to spend this year, our “Cost Per Student” is presently $7,896. I use the word “presently” because this depends on enrollment, which changes throughout the year, and the actual amount of money spent at the end of the year. Please remember that the tuition for In-Parish is $5,677 and the tuition for Out-of-Parish is $8,206.

Another way, however, to look at costs is to subtract the total expenses from the total amount collected in tuition and fees. That budgeted difference is about $876,000 (if everyone does what they are supposed to do). This comes to a deficit of about $1,825 per child. That is the amount we have to get per child in our efforts this year to make everything work out.

There are many different ways to look at this, but what is obvious is that we, like all Catholic Schools, have to generate extra funds.


This year we will be doing “Outreach” the same way we did it last year. There will be three official times when we are inviting the students to reach out and help the wider community. They are December 18th, January 29th and April 2rd. They are all Thursdays.

Once again, we are tying the “Outreach” into our Catholic School identity. The December date is at the end of Advent. The April date is at the end of Lent, and the January date is during Catholic Schools Week. On those three dates we will have a prayer service in the Church. As a part of that service in December and April, the students will bring in food for the Holy Rosary Church local food bank as well as money and goods for whatever causes their class decides upon supporting.

Last year, some of the causes were the Baby Corner, St. Francis House, Saint Vincent De Paul, Chief Seattle Club, and others. With the help of a few students we delivered all of the items during the day.

On January 29th, we will not be collecting anything. Hopefully, however, individual classrooms will be actually doing something for people somewhere in the community. We are concentrating on these days both so that it is connected to our faith and to avoid spreading many things throughout the entire year. It seemed to work well last year. Let’s go for two!

Ice Cream

We had pancakes for readers last week and ice cream for the math workers this week! Maybe it should be said that the way to a child’s heart is through their stomach. Megan Heuer, the chair of our Math department, organized a wonderful treat for all those who met their math challenge during the summer. Thank you, Megan.


Progress is being made, and I feel the response has been very positive. Signs stating the area is under 24 hour video surveillance are being made. The tarps are being put up and taken down each day. (Thankfully more and more parents and students are helping). We have a bid on additional fencing and cameras. These numbers are rather high. I am not sure exactly what we will be doing in that area at this point.

I want to take this opportunity to correct some incorrect understandings. Last year, we had two sightings of a “flasher” at Holy Rosary. There was a third instance when two of our children reported that they believed they saw the car that had been described as the car being driven away by the “flasher” in the neighborhood. This year we have had one reported incident.

Parent Workshop

There is a great workshop being offered by Dr. Tom Curran at Saint Monica in Mercer Island. It is a two-evening seminar. It is on online safety and responsibility with phones and iPads and computers in general. It will offer tools and strategies on how to best engage with your children. It will take place on October 7th and 14th. You can register by going to or call Saint Monica Parish. I highly recommend considering this. It is targeting parents with children in grades 5 through 12.

– George