Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington
Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302
Cataldo School launches $1 million capital campaign, ‘Rebuilding for the Future’
by Mitch Finley, Inland Register staff
(From the June 11, 2009 edition of the Inland Register)
On April 24, Spokane’s Cataldo School launched a capital campaign, dubbed “Rebuilding for the Future.” The campaign, directed by an 18-member committee chaired by Janie C. Strasser, hopes to raise a $1 million endowment for the school.
Cataldo is an interparochial school serving three Spokane parishes: St. Augustine, Sacred Heart, and the Cathedral of Our Lady of Lourdes.
Father Mark Pautler, pastor of Sacred Heart Parish, remarked on why a capital campaign such as this one is so important: “Recently, I took part in a program about children of the ‘millennial generation,’ who are in our Catholic schools today. Rather than rebelling against parental values, children of this generation look upon their parents as role models and want to be connected to them,” he said. “This has huge significance for the church’s future. By providing their children with a Catholic school education and by their witness to the faith, parents bring Catholicism from the periphery to the center of family life. Ultimately, an entire family, and not just the children, are evangelized through the Catholic school experience.”
“Cataldo Catholic School provides a great Catholic education for the children from the Cathedral,” said Father Steve Dublinski, rector of the Cathedral of Our Lady of Lourdes. “We have a growing number of children who attend Cataldo school and the capital campaign will help to ensure that the school will be financially strong and always available for our children in the future.
“The cost of education continues to increase,” he said. “We need to ensure that Cataldo remains a leader in Catholic education, this campaign will help secure that future.”
A recent letter launching the effort outlined the campaign goals.
Last August, at the request of the pastors of the three parishes, the Finance Council of St. Augustine Parish conducted a review of the financial records of the school beginning with the 2002-2003 school year. With the work of the council completed, a school financial oversight committee was established, consisting of the principal, an independent bookkeeper, and three members of St. Augustine’s Finance Council. This committee reports monthly to Cataldo’s Parent Advisory Council and the St. Augustine Finance Council. In addition, accounting personnel have been hired to bring the school’s accounting practices up to acceptable standards.
Next, a professional human resource firm conducted a survey of the parents, teachers, staff, and families currently associated with the school, as well as those who had left the school as recently as the 2007-2008 school year. The survey showed that the school is highly regarded, with the most significant weakness being communications between the school administration and the parent community. Steps are now being taken to address this issue, and the Parent Advisory Council and the principal are working together to strengthen the areas of development, marketing, and long range strategic planning.
“Cataldo has been a leader in the Spokane Catholic community since 1888,” said the letter, “providing for the spiritual, intellectual, social and physical growth of thousands of children.... The current financial challenges put this history and the school at risk, and we are asking for our Cataldo community both current and past to come together to get the school back on stable financial ground.”
Stephanie Johnson, Cataldo’s principal, said that while the school is experiencing a challenge, “the grace has been (the) opportunity to see people rally around our mission and purpose and respond to the call.” As of early June, “we have acquired approximately $400,000 in pledges and contributions toward (our) goal,” she said.
(For more information about the campaign, call 624-8759.)