Hundreds of thousands of dollars in loans taken out by Archbishop Bergan Catholic Schools through the Paycheck Protection Program have been completely forgiven.
The loans, totaling around $680,000, help reduce the parish’s current deficit to just under $70,000, Finance Director Steve Hill said in a school update Thursday.
“So, [it’s] just tremendous, tremendous news [that provides] a huge benefit for both the parish and the school,” Hill said. “We are still working and maintaining our diligence with expenses, trying to keep them as low as possible.”
The parish filed for PPP loan forgiveness in early November. At that point, Hill said he did not expect the loan to be completely forgiven.
“We do expect that the majority of the loan will be forgiven, but we probably are seeing some of it, probably in the $60,000 to $100,000 range, that we would have to repay,” Hill said in early November. “But, it’s still a bit early to tell exactly where we’re going to shake out with that.”
Following filing for forgiveness, Hill said the parish expected it to take at least three to five months before the parish received any decision. However, he said the government and the parish’s bank moved quickly to reach a decision.
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“When we look back at that last year’s financials, we ended the year with about a $750,000 deficit, but we still had that forgiveness piece that was hanging out there,” Hill said. “Our loans totaled around $680,000, so by having these fully forgiven, our deficit has been reduced from $750,000 to roughly a little bit below $70,000.”
The school has faced financial issues during the last 20 years that have only been compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In early May, the Rev. Walter Nolte, senior pastor of St. Patrick’s Catholic Church and president, said the parish met with Archbishop George Lucas in Omaha to discuss steps to reduce the parish’s then-deficit of approximately $960,000.
Nolte noted the parish’s plans to host a town hall earlier in December, saying the spike in COVID-19 cases ultimately led to the event’s cancellation.
“We didn’t feel it would be prudent to have that meeting at that time,” Nolte said.
However, Nolte said there are plans to have another town hall-style event on March 10.
“It is important that we meet together and talk about the parish,” he said. “We’re going to be celebrating our history and planning for our future together, becoming a missionary parish.”