2017 State of Our Catholic Schools

The third annual State of our Catholic Schools Meeting was held Monday, February 6, 2017 at Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Hays. The video is below as well as on our YouTube Channel. The submitted questions with their answers can be found below the video.

Thank you to our parents, benefactors, alumni, volunteers, faculty, staff, pastors, parishioners of the Heartland Parishes and everyone whose efforts make our schools a place where our young people can be educated in the likeness of Christ.

Families wishing to enroll their child(ren) at Holy Family Elementary or TMP-Marian for the 2017-18 school year need to have attended the State of our Catholic Schools Meeting or a makeup session as well as complete the 2017 Stewardship Form for Catholic School Families.

Questions and answers from the meeting:

Is this presentation given in Spanish for our Hispanic families?

● This same presentation was given in Spanish to the Hispanic community at the February 22 make-up date.

Can we make it a 30 minute meeting?

● This is a great question. In all our discussion, the length of time for the presentation was a top consideration. Preparation for the State of the Catholic Schools presentation begins in November and December with a committee made up of the school pastor, principals, advancement director, and members of the finance council. Well over 500 man hours went into the preparation between gathering data, meetings of the committee, time spent during finance and school council meetings, individual preparations, set up, and debriefing. The original presentation began with over 70 slides that were eventually whittled down to 35. There was great thought given to provide the most impactful information in the most efficient means possible.

Do you intend us to pledge $40 per month to a specific project?

● With the stewardship model families can choose the way in which they feel best helps the schools financially. The $40 per family per month is a round number to help our families understand what is needed to make up the gap. Each family can evaluate where they would like to increase their giving and begin there.

How are the funds collected/held invested from collection time till dispersed?

● TMP-M and HFE student fees that are collected during the spring months and held in the school money market account until the end of the current fiscal year. They are then transferred into the general operations account and booked as revenue in July or August of the new fiscal year.

● Funds donated to St. Thomas More Society are invested in interest bearing checking, money market and CDs until distributed to the school on a monthly basis.

Has the low yield economic environment impacted revenue?

● This has been a regular discussion at our Finance Council and State of the Catholic Schools preparation meetings. It is certainly an influential factor, but donor fatigue is also another factor that comes up in discussion. While it is difficult to pin down, we do recognize the the local economy and increased financial stresses on families are all influencing our flat and decreasing revenue lines.

Can we still make payments through spring months without knowing final fee amounts?

● Most definitely, and this encouraged! With rising school fees each year we see more and more families requiring monthly payments for their student fees. By paying on them during the spring and summer months it can reduce the financial impact in August when parents are also purchasing uniforms, school supplies, paying for lunch accounts, etc. We encourage all families to take advantage of this option.

● Holy Family Elementary requires a $100 per student non-refundable deposit for the upcoming school year by May 1st that will also be applied toward the next school year’s fees. If a family decides not to enroll for the 2017-18 school year, all fees beyond the $100 deposit will be refunded.

Are we as parents able to use a religious exemption when we do not want vaccines for our children (i.e flu, tetanus)?

● The Diocese of Salina updated the immunization policy in August of 2015 removing the religious and personal conscience waivers. The Catholic faith cannot be used as a religious exemption because the church does not hold that theological stance on immunizations. The only allowable waiver for immunizations is a signed document from your family physician. This decision was not made lightly, but after much expert advice, thought, and prayer on behalf of the Bishop and his legal counsel.

How do we get residency going again?

● There is a very active residency committee currently working toward this objective and reports monthly to the Finance Advisory Council. Last fall, a rough plan was presented to the Finance Advisory Council and Dr. Compagnone. Much of it was relayed to Bishop Wiesenberger. He responded back to the committee with refined objectives and expectations that the committee is currently addressing. If you are interested in getting involved or would like more details, please contact Mr. Meitner at TMP.

How come there are not term limits on officers? Need a new look (2 yrs).

● There are term limits for the Advisory Councils (School Advisory and Finance Advisory). Members can serve two 3-year terms. In 2013-14 the new governance system for TMP and HFE was designed and implemented. Members of the council are nominated by the various pastors of each parish and appointed by the Bishop. If anyone has an interest in serving on either council they should be sure to mark that on their time and talent form and speak with their pastor.

Who all has access to parent records from all phases – time, talent, and treasure?

● Only Msgr. Barry has access to all phases of a family’s stewardship. Both Principals, the Business Director, and the Advancement Director are the only school officials who have access to stewardship activities directly given to the school ministry. School officials do not have access to parish tithing records.

Who is responsible for the coaches not treating kids fairly?

● When an issue arises with a teacher, coach or sponsor please begin by communicating with the individual. If an adequate resolution does not come from that conversation then schedule a meeting with the Activities Director or Principal. It is our goal to address issues as quickly as possible. Don’t hesitate to speak up.

Who makes decisions on what projects get done?

● This is a widely variable question because there are large and small projects completed at both schools each year. For smaller projects and their priority, this is often discussed at the Leadership team level and agreed upon by the Principal, Maintenance director, and Fr. Barry. These types of projects often come up out of necessity of increased regulations by the state or insurance companies, or by degradation of our aging facilities.

● The Time and Talent committee is made up of parent volunteers, maintenance directors of both HFE and TMP, both principals, and representation from the school and finance advisory councils. This committee maintains the priority list of capital improvements for much larger projects, and both schools can add or move projects as needed when new issues become apparent. Consideration is given to life safety issues, insurance company and state regulation requirements, cost, and overall need in determining the priority list.

● Capital Improvement Item 60 for ACE is a combination of looking at the prioritization list, examining the site plan for TMP, and evaluating what benefactors would be motivated to support monetarily. The school leadership team, advancement office, and finance advisory council all provide input on the decision.

How do you make people accountable for tithing?

● A very good and tough question. Tithing, like all stewardship, should come from the heart. There are many external pressures that can be applied, but the Church teaches us that a freely given gift is what stewardship is all about. This is how God gives. This is how Christ modeled giving during his time on earth. Ultimately, this is a question that each Christian must answer for him or herself.

● Each year the parish pastors evaluate the stewardship of current families and notify the school whether or not they are cleared to enroll for the next school year. At the grade school this process takes place in January. It takes place later in the in spring at the junior high/high school level.

● Stewardship is multifaceted and complex, but involves mass attendance, ministering within the parish, and regular financial contributions. Also taken into account is sharing time and talent and financial support of our schools.

Can this presentation be given at the state house? The financial part?

● This presentation is primarily for our Catholic school families. The financial data could be shared with state representatives. This would be especially helpful when legislation dealing with schools, and specifically private schools, is debated.

Would like to know of what individual projects or needs one could donate to directly?

● Please contact Mr. Jeff Brull in the Advancement Office at TMP-Marian. He can describe already identified projects at both schools that are in need of support.