Achieving Fiscal Resilience

A fiscally resilient school measures, benchmarks and manages its revenue streams for long-term sustainability. Your Finance Committee guides the Board in focusing on strategic priorities revealed through financial data in order to develop a vision and plan for the school’s future growth.

Some schools have too little data to work with in “owning their own future”; others are buried in data. Ultimately, your school needs to turn all data – including financial reporting – into insight and intelligent action. In a Board of Specified Jurisdiction, the Finance Committee develops the annual operating budget in collaboration with the Principal and school Business Manager, with input from the Pastor, Director of Advancement/Admissions, and Development and Enrollment Committee Chairs.

“There's a lot of change management — Why do we value you as a Board member? What is your role? How are you going to interact with the other Board members as well as the Principal and the Business Manager for the school? — making people aware.... and the Finance Committee really works across all activities of the school.”

Rick DeCarolis Finance Committee Chair, Philadelphia-Area Catholic Schools

In working with the Enrollment Committee, the Finance Committee helps to track and advise on matters related to retention and recruitment. Both Enrollment and Development are key revenue drivers for the school.

Some examples of issues and challenges that Finance Committees have identified and resolved:

  • After identifying a high balance of delinquent tuition, Finance Committees set tuition collection policies to ensure the obligations of every student are met on a timely basis.
  • Finance Committees act as strong advocates for the school when the parish administrator and/or parish finance council have different views on operational issues (expenditure approvals and reimbursement policies) and parish investment.
  • Finance Committees have worked in regular partnership with other Board committees to set and uphold informed budget goals.

Quick Case

“The ability to collaborate with a strategic and action-oriented Finance Council has enabled us to take charge of the school’s financial future,” said Fred Perazzelli, Business Manager, St. Katharine Drexel Regional School. “We’ve worked together for successes in budgeting, transparency and parent engagement as well as facility expansion.” 

At St. Katharine Drexel Regional Catholic School (Holland, PA), the Finance Council along with the school Business Manager and other leaders have achieved a number of successes in recent years, including:

  • Budgeting – the Finance Council of the Board works with the Business Manager in preparing and finalizing the annual budget to ensure the school projects an operating surplus. Over nine years of operation, they have achieved annual surpluses of almost $1 million.
  • Transparency – annually, the school Board and Business Manager are a part of the State-of-School report to parents. They emphasize the financial health of the school along with a report that shows the application of the parents’ fundraising supporting capital projects.
  • Expansion – the school needed funds for a $300,000 building expansion last year for a new Learning Center and raised $148,000 from donations.

Additional Resources

Financial Reporting & Agendas (Vimeo 3:29)

Internal Controls & Policies (Vimeo 1:14) 

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