All 26 parishes will be required to raise an additional $1 million as well.
Guam – The Archdiocese of Agana’s finances were so badly managed in the past that they are now implementing austerity measures in order to cover their operational needs of $2.5 million for 2018.
Part of that will include an assessment from all catholic schools of $169 per student per year which means tuition could go up.
Members of the Archdiocesan Finance Council went to great lengths to point out that their efforts to raise money has nothing to do with the scores of sexual abuse lawsuits filed against the church, even repeating their statement several times.
“It’s nothing to do with the sex abuse cases–absolutely nothing … we are not increasing the assessment because of the sex abuse cases,” said AFC President Richard Untalan, adding,”I cannot emphasize that enough.”
Untalan is referring to the Archdiocese of Agana’s planned assessment of all catholic schools and parishes in order to fund their operational budget of $2.5 million for 2018. Of that amount, the church will require the parishes to pay about $1 million while schools will pay $110,000 to fund a superintendent’s office and another $637,000 for operating expenses for a combined total of about $747,000.
Untalan and AFC member Rick Duenas explain that when they began looking into church finances last year, they uncovered several issues dealing with mismanagement.
“The previous governance of this archdiocese was really upside down,” noted Untalan.
To be able to collect the $747,000, catholic schools will be required to make two separate assessments: $25 per student per year, which will fund the $110,600 needed for the superintendent’s office and another $12 per student per month or $144 a year to fund the $637,000 needed for church operations. This translates to a total of $169 per student per year.
But as Untalan points out, this assessment, although identified through the student population, will not necessarily translate to an increase in tuition.
We asked whether every incoming student will be assessed the two separate fees.
“Well, not from us. We’re leaving it up to the schools. They can decide whether they want to assess or not. In fact, some of them have already told and informed us they’re not gonna do an assessment,” Untalan responded.
PNC: “But either way they’re gonna have to fork over the money.”
“That’s right, they’re gonna make the payment into the chancery. The mechanics of how they wanna implement it in their school be it a tuition increase, fundraising, concerts, [that’s up to the school administrators],” said Duenas.
At a rate of $12 per month, Untalan believes the increase is still rather affordable for parents should the schools decide to incorporate it into the school tuition.
“If you see the breakdown, we took great pains to make sure that we minimize the impact; $12 per student, I think that’s affordable,” noted Untalan.
So if it has nothing to do with the sex abuse lawsuits, then what is it for? Untalan says running a diocese of this size—26 parishes and 14 schools—requires money.
“All of this costs money,” he pointed out.
PNC: “Had this never come to light, the sex abuse allegations, the dozens and dozens of lawsuits–”
“We would’ve still done this,” said Untalan.
“That’s a good question keep in mind that when we went through this process–these are basically what we need to operate, to get the diocese overall into a functioning financial situation without regard to the lawsuits,” added Duenas.
You can watch the entire press conference on our PNC Facebook page.