The 2015-2016 school year marks a signiﬁcant change in direction for the four junior/senior high schools in the Syracuse Roman Catholic Diocese. As of July 1, 2015, Bishop Ludden Junior/Senior High School, Syracuse; Bishop Grimes Junior/Senior High School, East Syracuse; Notre Dame Junior/Senior High School, Utica; and Seton Catholic Central, Binghamton, ofﬁcially began operating under a decentralized business model, which allows each school to operate more independently and in response to the speciﬁc needs of its community, according to William Crist, superintendent of Catholic Schools.
Under the new model, each school now has a professional, autonomous board of trustees with members who range from local business professionals, alumni, parents, and educational and church leaders. In conjunction with school administrators, each board now has the authority to make key decisions regarding school policy, organizational oversight and ﬁnance, while articulating an appropriate vision and formulating individual strategies appropriate to each school’s speciﬁc needs. With the approval of Bishop Robert J. Cunningham, each school’s board recently completed a new operating agreement, school charter, by-laws, a lease agreement and a ﬁnancial plan with the common goal of maintaining ﬁnancial independence and self-sufﬁciency.
“We are pleased with the tremendous progress and commitment each of our high schools has made to decentralization and to the future of Catholic education within the Diocese of Syracuse,” said Crist. “Allowing schools to make decisions at the local level under the direct guidance of those who best understand each community’s needs and priorities is a model we are certain will result in growth for our schools and continued success for our students.”
Notre Dame and Seton Catholic Central began the decentralization process several years ago and have already seen success. Their initial work paved the way for Bishop Ludden and Bishop Grimes to follow, so that, as of this academic year, all four schools are working under the decentralization business model.
Bishop Ludden Junior/Senior High School looks forward to fully implementing this new business model when the doors open in September, according to Carl Masterpole, president of Ludden’s board of trustees. “Our view into the future of Bishop Ludden is a bright one, not only for the upcoming school year but for many years to come,” he said. “Bishop Cunningham has given our school the opportunity to more directly forge our future as a result of the decentralization plan. Ludden leaders have seized this opportunity and have embarked on an initiative to improve our educational programs, which includes hiring several new highly qualiﬁed teachers, upgrading the use of technology in the classroom, and focusing on increased student safety, energy conservation and an enhanced learning environment. Our future couldn’t be brighter, and we thank Bishop Cunningham for entrusting the Bishop Ludden Community with the future of our great school.”
Henry Fust, president of the board of trustees at Bishop Grimes Junior/Senior High School agrees. “This is an exciting time for Bishop Grimes as we come together under the direction of a new board and a new model for secondary Catholic education that is certain to beneﬁt our school at every level,” said Fust, who brings his expertise as a founding partner of Fust Charles Chambers, LLP, a local certiﬁed public accounting ﬁ rm. “Already the plans we’ve put in place have resulted in increased enrollment for the fall of 2015 and a momentum that is sure to continue in the years ahead. We have great faith in the student, parents, faculty and board members at this school, and we look forward to working together, along with the Bishop and the School Superintendent, to ensure that Bishop Grimes continues to thrive.”
Notre Dame has already seen proven success with increased enrollment and the additional of various curricular and co-curricular programs.
“It is safe to say that none of this would have happened without giving Notre Dame back to the community,” said Jim Joseph, president of the Notre Dame Junior/Senior High School board of trustees. “We have built a local management team, recruited a local board of directors, invested in the Utica-Herkimer Community Foundation and forged an incredible partnership with the Good News Foundation. These efforts have resulted in three years of hitting our capital campaign targets and three consecutive years of enrollment growth.
“Furthermore, we have more than 20 students from outside the U.S. attending Notre Dame this fall and a waiting list for some of our elementary classes,” added Joseph, who brings with him his expertise as the dean of the Madden School of Business at Le Moyne College.
Enrollment for all four diocesan high schools and 18 elementary schools continues over the next several weeks for the 2015-2016 school year. For information, visit any local Catholic school or go to www.syracusediocese.org.