Dear Harborlight Friends,
In my conversations with a number of parents, several questions have reoccurred, so I thought it might be helpful to provide some answers where I can, knowing that there are questions for which we do not have answers, as things evolve day-to-day.
Learning: First, I need to acknowledge that this is not “business as usual.” There is no substitute for the hands-on learning and engagement in our Montessori environments. That said, teachers and staff, from Infant/Toddler through Middle School, are working hard to deliver instruction, maintain connections, and provide resources to students and parents. We meet weekly as a whole team and in level groups to share and refine our delivery models. Your feedback is essential to that, so please communicate with your children’s teachers.
Reopening the campus: The earliest we can welcome students back to campus is May 4th and that decision rests with Governor Baker. We continue to plan for a variety of scenarios , including extending the school year to the end of June, and offering summer academic programing to offset the potential of a “summer slide” by keeping our children moving forward on their educational journey. We will keep you updated as these plans develop.
Tuition: We are a tuition-dependent independent school. Nearly 90% of every tuition dollar goes to compensating teachers and staff, who continue to work on academic programing. The remainder pays for program costs like classroom educational material, and for fixed overhead such as utilities, insurance, and facilities maintenance. There is little to cut at this time of the year. Donations to the Harborlight Fund account for only about one percent of our revenue.
As a non-profit, independent school, we carefully align projected tuition revenue with expenses at the beginning of our fiscal year each July. Most independent schools collect tuition annually or semi-annually. In order to help our parents, Harborlight collects most of its tuition monthly, even though the enrollment contract is annual. This means we do not have a large reserve of prepaid tuition to see us through. We rely upon your continued monthly tuition payments.
We have not laid off any teachers or staff. They are providing education and support to students and families. They also continue to work on school-wide tasks, such as the State Licensing renewal due this spring and working with new families enrolling for the next academic year. We need tuition payments to continue paying faculty and staff, to whom we have made annual commitments based on your annual contracts.
Tuition Assistance: This pandemic has had a significant economic impact. We have enhanced our financial aid program to help individual families who may need some help. This can take a variety of forms. Please email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you think you may need assistance.
We know there are additional financial issues, and we appreciate your patience as we work through this changing landscape. We want to find a balance that supports our families and ensures the health of the school, looking forward to the time when we can all be together again.
I will continue writing to you weekly, and more often if there is something important to share. As always, I am happy to talk about your concerns and to try to answer your questions. Please reach out.
Be safe, friends...