Tags: Steve Malzberg Show | catholic schools | Archdicese | New York | Tim McNiff

Dr. Tim McNiff: NY Catholic Schools Stronger After Painful Cuts

By Bill Hoffmann   |   Wednesday, 04 Jun 2014 07:32 PM

The Catholic education system has had a bumpy ride in New York, but is slowly being strengthened thanks to aggressive management by the church, says Dr. Tim McNiff, superintendent of schools for the Archdiocese of New York.

"Truth be told, nationally Catholic schools are still challenged in closing schools and may I say, it really is not because of what's happening in the classroom, it's the business model we have,'' McNiff told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.
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"It's an artificial tuition that we set low and it doesn't meet our cost and trying to fill that delta has been the demise of many schools and we felt it here in the Archdiocese. [But] our test scores are still strong, [as is] the graduation rate.''

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It hasn't been easy in making some of the changes, which while necessary, are quite painful, according to McNiff. "What we first had to do was close 60 of our schools there were 276 schools in the system,'' he said.

"That was heart wrenching, but what it gave us the ability to do is to reduce the deficits that we were presently incurring to something that was manageable.

"When your business model is not bringing in the income that you need you'll always be in deficits, but we have now a manageable deficit.'' The archdiocese also came to the conclusion that individual parishes cannot sustain schools by themselves.

"So we created regional boards and we invited a lot more people to be participatory as stakeholders, and by that I mean, actual board members that are incorporated,'' he said.

"When we did that, we brought in skillsets we were lacking in the past. Not only financial, but the building facilities, marketing, public relations, fundraising and what not.

"The system still requires more money and we're attacking that in a very aggressive way too.''

He said the business model has now fanned out to other archdioceses having similar challenges around the country.

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