By BRANDON L.
St. Edmond Catholic School had a major impact on the Fort Dodge area economy in 2011.
An economic impact statement released by the school and completed in cooperation with the city elaborates on St. Edmond's contributions to the community. Through the school's annual expenditures, it has had a a direct impact of more than $5.32 million and a total impact of more than $13.3 million on the local economy.
"We wanted to establish the economic vitality of St. Edmond," Tim Barry, St. Edmond president, said.
Direct impact is measured by employee payroll - $2.9 million - and total school purchases - $2.4 million. With 77 full-time employees, St. Edmond has a total employment impact, determined by an economic multiplier of 1.2, of 92.4 employees on the local economy, as well.
Barry said the results noted in the impact statement were satisfying.
"I think I went into it knowing we had a strong impact," he said. "But it's one thing to think that, and another thing to actually prove that."
The numbers in the statement are not based on this year's budget, but instead based on the school's 2010-2011 fiscal year.
Following similar statements done by Trinity Regional Medical Center and other organizations in cooperation with the city, Barry said, the school prepared its own.
"I think the analogy is that St. Edmond is a small company. And a viable strong company," he said.
The information will be used in the school's publications and marketing materials, and used by economic development initiatives in Fort Dodge to entice prospective residents.
Barry expects the school's viability to continue into the future.
"In private education, the times have always been competitive and tough," he said. "We've thrived over the years, with 150 years of Catholic education in Webster County. Sixty years here, at this site. But there always have been challenges. We've thrived through thick and thin, and we're very optimistic toward the future."
The statement will not be a guide for the school's policy or its curriculum, though, Barry said.
"Most of our decisions have a strong economic base to it, but we're not going to say, 'Is this going to be good for our economic impact statement?'" he said. "Is it going to assist us, shaping the answers to questions? Certainly. But I don't want it to be the end-all, be-all.
He added, "We're not in the business of designing a profit. What we produce is knowledge, which is fluid and measurable, and in many respects immeasurable."
An economic impact statement including statistics for the 2011-2012 fiscal year will be released in summer 2013.