Hi Daisy 69 and welcome. I think your original comment about the school got lost in a flurry of activity about other points, but I have to say I found that quite interesting for all sort of reasons.
First is that people have been telling them about this for years. If you look at the Latigo website at[www.latigo214.info
] you will see there are articles about the finances in 2009 – 2011.
One of the things these articles did was point out how much the church was subsidising the school. If you for example look at the article “Struthers Memorial Church and the generous gift” at [www.latigo214.info
] you will see that, in 2009, the church subsidised the school to a tune of £ 158,143.
In that year, the church offerings were £583,812 and the expenditure was £ 373,791, so the church side made a “profit” of £ 210,019. Giving £158,143 to the school was therefore viable form a financial point of view. I am not sure it is what the congregation expected their money to be used for, but the money was there and it was not a huge financial risk.
In 2022 (the last year for which accounts are available), the school however required a subsidy of £ 307,605. This is almost twice as large as the subsidy required in 2009. On top of this, church income was down to £396,576 (a drop of 32%). The church expenditure had also decreased by a smaller proportion to £ 295,964 (a drop of 20%). The “profit” (Income less Expenditure) made by the church was therefore just £ 100,612, which was nowhere near enough to meet the £ 307,605 subsidy required by the school.
All this information is in the annual accounts and is publicly available. The problem is however that the annual accounts obscure rather than highlight this issue, never showing income directly against expenditure in this way. Perhaps that is why it has taken them fifteen years to realise this issue has to be addressed.
This meeting and vote raises other interesting points as well though, especially in terms of governance. Was this an AGM or an EGM? Either way, what does the constitution say about providing notice of this meeting – do they have to announce it 14 days in advance for example? Is a minute taken and available at the next meeting?
What information was presented? For a matter as important as this, I would expect a written paper explaining the background, how the situation arose, what steps management had been taking to try to resolve the issue, a financial and business plan for at least the next five years, a set of control points that explained when and how the plans were going to be monitored and reviewed, a set of options accompanied by the assumptions and risks in each etc, etc. Were these sorts of papers produced, or was it just a verbal report? What were the options and risks presented?
Finally, it is very interesting to see the change in governance and responsibility structures, with decisions like this being taken by the congregation. That has all sorts of implications, from the need for the kind of information outlined above to the fact that the leaders can now (attempt to) put the responsibility for anything that goes wrong on the whole congregation rather than on their leadership. Perhaps most interesting of all, it means the congregation can actually discuss things and have different views rather than being told what their views should be.
They will have to be careful or people will expect to be able to discuss doctrine and theology!