(even if your school is closed)
Over the past couple of weeks with school closures due to the COVID-19 emergency, school leaders and parents have voiced concerns to me about school tuition.
“Several families have requested tuition refunds since we are closed and not offering our contracted services,” said one head of school.
“Why should I pay for something that I’m not getting?” parents say, while also voicing the concern that their jobs and income are in jeopardy.
We are in untrodden territory. We don’t know how or when this COVID-19 story and economic disruption ends.
From my point of view, we need to take a deep breath and think about this:
When all this settles down what do we want to have still standing?
The reality is that our private schools and daycares are small businesses that run on a thin margin with little or no reserves.
Even a week’s lost income places most small businesses into a precarious position. No income after two weeks becomes dire. After a month, there may be no business left to reopen.
March is traditionally the time of the year when schools finalize details for the upcoming school year. Student contracts are wrapped up, which leads to faculty contracts being offered for the next school year.
With no employment contracts in hand by late April, faculty most likely will begin looking for other jobs.
With no school and childcare available by mid-April, most families will search for long-term alternatives.
By May 1 many private schools’ prospects for the next school year may be nil, with not enough student and faculty contracts to open their doors in the fall.
What do we want to be there?
If you want your child’s school and your child’s teacher to be there in a month and next year, pay your tuition, today, even though at this moment you may not feel that you are receiving value.
School leaders, be transparent with your school community about the financial realities and challenges you face so you can work together to make sure that your school community survives after the COVID-19 alarms quiet.
See my additional comments below.