Former Philadelphia School District chief financial boss Michael Masch has landed at Manhattan College, where he was named vice president for finance and chief financial officer.
Masch was lauded by Manhattan College officials for his "outstanding record of accomplishment, and a strong desire to continue our mission," college president Brennan O'Donnell said in a statement. "The college is the beneficiary of his decision, after more than a decade in government and public education, to return to higher education." Masch was credited by the college for generating surpluses for the district, as well as "significantly reducing operating costs" and pioneering "investments in smaller class sizes."
Masch left the district last May after being removed from his district CFO position in January, 2012, when the then-new School Reform Commission revealed massive budget problems that, if uncorrected, would have left the district unable to pay its bills within a few months.
Masch was brought to the district when former Superintendent Arlene C. Ackerman came to Philadelphia in 2008. When the district was flush with state and federal stimulus cash, he helped implement Imagine 2014, her ambitious and expensive strategic plan. But by the end of her rocky tenure as schools chief, things had soured between the two, with Ackerman not speaking to her CFO and two separate budgets floating around district headquarters.
Ackerman's successors, and the current SRC, have said that the spending during her tenure - combined with a lack of planning for the future and cuts in state and federal aid - nearly bankrupted the district. Asked by City Council last year how the district got in a position of being millions of dollars in debt, SRC Chairman Pedro Ramos said plainly that it was: "bad fiscal policy."
Masch has extensive budgetary experience, having served as Rendell's budget director both at the city and state level. He was also a vice president for budget and management at the University of Pennsylvania, as well as a member of both the old city school board and the first SRC.
In a statement, Masch said he was eager to start his tenure at Manhattan College. “I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to serve Manhattan College. The meetings I have already had with President O’Donnell and with deans, faculty, students and senior staff have demonstrated to me that this College is a very special place — small enough that everyone matters, big enough to offer a diverse and exceptional range of educational experiences, and uniquely committed to a mission of service and social justice. It is an honor to be here,” Masch said in the statement.