July 23, 2017

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Archives for April 2017

Guardian Angels Town Hall Meeting Information and FAQs April 2017

4/28/2017

This week, three town hall meetings were held to discuss the current state of the finances for the parish and school.  The following information was presented by Lynn Arnal, GA Business Administrator, Kate Hamill, GA principal, Phil Boelter, Catholic Finance Corp., and Father Michael Tix representing the Presbyteral Council from the Archdiocese.

  • We have a cash shortage. GA parish and School have 45 days of cash on hand. To address this cash flow and our larger financial instability we will make changes in three phases.
  • Phase One: We will refinance our loan to get $150,000 repaid to us so that we can use that cash through the summer to get current.
  • Phase Two: Next year’s school and parish budgets will be conservative and balanced.  This will require staffing changes to both parish and school staffs.  These budgets will be made available to parishioners to review in the next 30 days.
  • Phase Three: Catholic Finance and our accountants, PASC, with the assistance of the Archdiocese will advise us on a 2-3 year long term plan for both the parish and school.  The health and stability of the school and parish must be accomplished for future stability.
  • To ensure the success of all three phases, we as a parish need to be sure to support financially as best we can both the plate which pays for operations (lights, hosts, salaries) and a new capital campaign that will pay for our loan and some building projects. The goal is to pay off the loan with this capital campaign.
  • We are a strong, loyal parish community and we have risen to the challenges of the past. This will be why we succeed time after time.

 

Common Questions that were asked:

  1. Are we going to close the school?
    • In phase two, we have a new tighter budget for the school that will “right-size” the investment in the school from the parish.  Normal parish investment in schools is around the 35% of the parish plate income.  We have been investing over 60% of our plate.  That cannot continue.  The Archdiocese fully believes we can be a thriving school.  We have the children and the family growth in this area.  They are sending us an expert for enrollment who began this week to increase our presence in our town and surrounding area. In phase three, we will have a 2-3 year strategic plan to get the school as healthy as possible.  We expect growth already this fall.  Father Mike Tix and many others are using their expertise to advise us on making this growth happen.
  2. What does more conservative, balanced budget mean?
    • Both the parish and school staffs will be cut. The investment in salaries and benefits are by far our largest expense.  These expenses need to be proportional with our very consistent and strong giving.  This bucket of expenses is currently too large for our size and needs to be reduced.  How many and who is being determined and will be part of the information that is communicated with the balanced budgets.
  3. How do we balance paying off the loan and paying for the 5 buildings we own?
    • We do have five buildings. The convent and school are on one side of the street and the Friary and church are on the other.  The rectory is a parish owned house on Pine Street and that is where Father lives.  All five have been evaluated by our Facilities Committee and the list of upkeep is known.  During this phased plan, we will continue to invest money in the projects most needed by the buildings to remain solid, healthy buildings for our use. All projects will only begin when we have the cash in the bank to pay for them. Project by project fundraising will be necessary.  The capital campaign’s first priority is to pay off the loan.  We need to be debt free to be the healthiest version of Guardian Angels.
  4. How do we attract more members for parish and students for school?
    • The best way to promote the parish and school is personal invitation. Invite your families and friends to come and see Guardian Angels for themselves.  We want our reputation to be one of renewal and inspiration far beyond our parish walls.  This only happens when we talk about Guardian Angels with our neighbors positively and with an invitation for them to come and visit us.
  5. Are the different groups of our parish being invited to participate in this plan?
    • Communication with all of our members is challenging. We have a bulletin, pulpit announcements, and a website that isn’t always updated.  Improved communications and transparency will be key to the success of this plan.  New ways of reaching our membership will need to be created and strengthened. Particularly, those members of non-school families and our Hispanic community need better links of communication with the leaders of the parish.  All are invited to be part of this plan of growth and financial health.
  6. What happens now?
    • The loan will be refinanced and we will stop the cash shortage. A conservative, balanced budget will be published within 30 days for the parish to review. The finance, parish and school advisory councils will be engaged in long range planning with the financial and Archdiocesan experts provided to us.
    • In order to continue this new transparency of communication with the parish, another series of Town Halls will be offered in September.

If you would like to ask other questions or want clarification of any of this information, please contact Lynn Arnal in the parish office at (952) 227-4001 or email Lynn at larnal@gachaska.org  Thank you for your continued support of Guardian Angels both in your time offered as a volunteer and in your financial gifts to our parish and school.