Bulletin (June 30, 2002)

As we come to the end of a fiscal year (July 1, 2001 – June 30, 2002) I would like to give you a preliminary report on our parish financial situation. Although it is only preliminary, it comes as a result of hours of work with parish administrator Tom Weber, parish bookkeeper Vicente Bolisig, archdiocesan director of parish financial services Ed Williams and our parish finance council. Our most immediate goal is to have a precise financial report by August.

This past Tuesday we met for four hours with school principal Steve Morissette to analyze school income and expenses – which is the major part of our overall parish budget. Although we are still waiting a few more tuition payments, it is possible to give a general idea where we stand in terms of Holy Family School.

Before giving the round figures, I would like to make a couple of general observations. First, this has been a very difficult year economically for Holy Family Parish. September 11 and the subsequent economic slump affected many of our families, including a number of school families who lost their jobs. We have tried to work with each family individually in terms of tuition, scholarships, etc. Still our overall tuition income was less than we hoped.

In light of this drop in projected income, we have reduced certain school expenses. This has been a challenge since we are already operating on a shoestring. Our per pupil cost this past year was $3,442 – which compares quite favorably with Seattle Public Schools. Each student in the public schools costs the taxpayers around seven thousand dollars. Of course, Holy Family School receives almost no help from the government so the per pupil cost must be paid by tuition, fund raising by parents and direct parish subsidy.

This past year our parish subsidy to Holy Family School was higher than in previous years. It came to about $240 thousand. That figure represents 27% of our total school budget. While our percentage of subsidy is not the highest in the archdiocese, it is higher than we can afford. Consequently, our budget for the 2002-2003 fiscal year aims to bring the percentage down substantially.

Working with the School Commission and Parents Club, Mr. Morissette has formulated a budget for 2002-2003 which will increase tuition income and, where possible, lower school expenses. This year we have received about $420 thousand in tuition (we are still working with some families regarding tuition payments, so the final figure should be higher). Next year we hope to receive $500 thousand in tuition. The factors, which will make this increase possible, are: increased tuition rate, a somewhat larger student body and a more efficient method of collection. Ed Williams has helped us set up a more effective program to monitor tuition income and, if it is not on target, we will have to make reductions in some of our school programs. I am praying that this will not be necessary as those reductions would be painful.

I am happy to report that in addition to tuition payments, our school parents have worked hard on other forms of fundraising. For example, through the school auction and other efforts, our Parents Club made a donation of $55 thousand. Also, during the year an additional $20 thousand was donated directly to the school. Registration fees brought in $25,147 and programs like BASS, Hot Lunch and Band earned sufficient funds to be basically self-supporting. All together, these and other efforts netted a total of about $230 thousand in non-tuition school income.

At the same time our school expenses are significant. Salaries for all school personnel were $571 thousand to which must be added $149 thousand in benefits for a total of $757. (Benefits – FICA, health, dental, retirement, etc. - have increased enormously in recent years. As you can see, they now add over 27% to each salary.) Although this expense is high, it must be pointed out that our teachers earn only 89% of what public school teachers do. So they are making a considerable sacrifice to teach at Holy Family. We appreciate their dedication.

While almost everyone recognizes that salary and benefit expenses will increase, it is possible to lower some program expenses. We have done that in our parish school. Our total program expenses for the 2001-2002 fiscal year was $138 thousand. In our budget for 2002-2003 fiscal year, program expenses are set at $110 thousand. When we complete our financial report we will have more detailed and more precise figures.

Although the major part of our parish budget is dedicated to school expenses, the other parts of the budget are significant. In subsequent bulletins I will try to present what our expenses and income was for liturgy, religious education, Hispanic ministry, etc.

This past year we did have a slight increase in our Sunday collections. However this increase was nowhere near what it had been in the past four or five fiscal years. As a consequence and because of the unexpectedly large school subsidy, our overall financial worth dropped by about $30 thousand. This happened even though we had significant bequests such as the Tomsit estate and the $10 thousand donation in memory of Helen Bazik. The good news is that we were able to pay off the remainder of the building loan for our school porch - $65 thousand.

However there is some bad news. As I write this, we have about $74 thousand in liabilities. That includes about $20 thousand in pension payments, which accumulate monthly, but are not due until January of 2003. However, the other $54 thousand are overdue bills. In addition we still owe $59 thousand for our boiler loan.

My immediate financial goal for the summer and fall is to get out from under our debt. To do this we will need to receive an average Sunday collection of $10,673. This figure is based on Sunday collections for the past fiscal year, with no percentage increase. If we can increase the number of parish givers and the amount each person gives, this amount will obviously increase and we will be able to pay off our debt more rapidly.

We will be monitoring our Sunday collections carefully. Besides the overall collection for our seven Sunday Masses, we will keep track of the giving in each specific Mass. One bright area is that the giving in Spanish Masses has gone up during the past years. At present about 33 % of our Sunday income comes from our three Spanish Sunday Masses. I believe that as Hispanics become more closely identified with parish and as they advance in their own finances, their giving will continue to increase. Hispanic giving through Sunday collections and other donations (baptisms, marriages, quinceañeras, etc.) is greater than the specific costs of Hispanic ministry so they are a financial – as well as spiritual – plus to Holy Family.

Besides the regular Sunday collection, beginning next Sunday, we will be dedicating our second collection (two-bit collection) to getting out from under our debt. I am hoping that before Christmas we will have resolved our debt and will be able to move ahead with some specific needs such as strengthening our religious education and youth programs. I am making some personal sacrifices to help make this happen. I ask you also to do the same. We are in this together – and we need to pray and sacrifice to realize our dreams.

For more information and to give your feedback, I invite you to participate in an appropriate listening session. On July 11there will be a potluck and listening session for liturgical volunteers. On July 27 for members of Perpetual Adoration, August 22 for Vietnamese, August 29 for Hispanics, September 25 for Parents Club, and October 17 for all parishioners.