January 17, 2012 – O’Meara Ferguson Releases Groundbreaking Analysis of Catholic Education


O’Meara Ferguson Releases Groundbreaking Analysis of Catholic Education
Analysis and Educator Guidebook to be Presented at Unique Education Symposium February 8-10, 2012

O’Meara, Ferguson, Whelan, and Conway – January 17, 2012

NEW YORK, Jan. 17, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — The largest private school system in America, which educates over 2.6 million young Americans, is under tremendous pressure. A new report just released by O’Meara Ferguson Whelan and Conway (“O’Meara Ferguson”) provides a crucial statistical analysis of how America’s Catholic School system can become more operationally efficient while remaining the best performing school system in America. The report, “Revitalizing Catholic Schools,” provides a groundbreaking statistical analysis of more than 300 schools nationwide in order to provide mechanisms to drive improved operating results.

The freshly printed study is part of a series of events and reports O’Meara Ferguson plans to release in the coming weeks, including a symposium designed to assist Catholic School systems design solutions to better manage profitability and success, without sacrificing their mission. At the symposium, to be held February 8-10, 2012 in San Antonio, Texas, O’Meara Ferguson will release Part Two of the study, an official guidebook for educators, entitled “The School Revitalization Manual.”

Schools around the country are facing financial pressure due to the challenging economy. The Archdiocese of Philadelphia recently closed 45 elementary schools, displacing 1,700 teachers and 24,000 students, as a result of year after year of red ink. “Our study is every educator’s first step to understanding the key drivers of school performance and implementing meaningful changes to set these schools on a path to profitability,” noted Patrick O’Meara, President of O’Meara Ferguson and co-author of the report. “Our reports and guidebooks, which will be released at our upcoming Symposium, provides hope to millions of students, their educators, and thousands of parishes across the country.”

During the two year study, O’Meara Ferguson aggregated data from approximately 5.0% of all of the Catholic elementary schools in the United States, as well as conducted more than 50 in-depth interviews with school principals, in order to provide a complete analysis of the current state of Catholic schools in America.

Several of the key findings from the report include:

  • Household income is not a predictor of school performance
  • Schools in the highest and lowest 10% range of household income outperformed the group
  • “Utilization Ratio” (percentage enrollment) is one of the most influential factors in school success
  • Revenue per square foot, or a school’s efficiency, most impacts a school’s performance

The findings in the study illustrate that the popular notions of the drivers of school success, particularly that of the financial well-being of student families, have been disproven and not supported by empirical data. In fact, one in three pastors would argue that struggling parish schools are the primary cause of failing Catholic parishes. This report sheds light on this misconception and these schools can make real changes to concrete business models in order to re-invigorate their communities.

“In today’s challenging economic environment, educators need to think outside the box to develop new ways of achieving profitability for their parishioners, communities and employees,” said Frank Ferguson, Managing Director of O’Meara Ferguson and co-author of the report. “Our analysis and revitalization manual are necessary handbooks for educators focused on renewing the original goals of the Catholic Mission.”

About O’Meara Ferguson Whelan and Conway

Our mission is to provide Catholic organizations with advice and counsel on the best possible use of their temporal resources as they work to further their missions. O’Meara, Ferguson, Whelan, and Conway integrates specifically crafted financial strategies, unmatched access to capital financing alternatives, investment management advice, and stewardship-based fundraising counsel to manage and leverage financial assets to build our clients’ fiscal strength and independence.