Posted by Andrea DeYoung, SCS Board Vice President
While January marks the start of a new calendar year, it is right in the middle of our fiscal year at Shoreline Christian. And that means budget season. We have talked to you before about our budget process, at Society Meetings and in blog posts, but it’s a topic that benefits from revisiting from time to time.
Our school is a bit different--I know you know this, but humor me. Our approach to education and community, our teachers and students, our alumni, even our campus reflect the ecosystem we so often reference. It should be no surprise then that our budget process also reflects this balance and philosophy.
The largest source of income in our budget comes from tuition and fees, paid by parents for the education of their children. The cost of tuition does not come from working backward from a budget that ends in a profit, but rather by starting with the actual cost of educating a student. This is why tuition for a kindergarten student is not the same as tuition for a high school student.
Next, we look at how much our school pays out in tuition assistance. In one sense, because our founders chose to direct 20% of the budget to come from fundraising, we all receive 20% off of our tuition costs. We recognize the sacrifice all our families make in order to send their children to SCS, however some families still need additional tuition assistance. Now, because we set tuition based on the actual cost (rather than building in extra tuition dollars to pad the budget), we have a limited amount of tuition assistance available. This is why we look at tuition assistance on a year to year basis. Not every family needs the same amount every year, and the finances of the school change year to year. Our desire is to make Christian education available to as many families as possible while still maintaining our budget. The 20% of our budget that comes from fundraising mentioned earlier - this is the reason we hold special events like the Auction and the Jog-a-Thon.
In figuring the balance of tuition, tuition assistance and fundraising, we include a review of staff salaries.You all know our teachers and staff are here because they believe in the mission of the school, and love our children, but we also live in one of the most expensive regions in our nation. The School Board is currently evaluating what we can offer our teachers and staff in terms of a cost of living raise. We rely on the expertise of our teachers daily and want to do what we can to retain them.
Obviously there are more factors to our budget, and we have some good ideas about how to balance all these things and will discuss them in depth with the Finance Committee. Then we will present them to the SCS Community at the All Parent Winter Society Meeting & Dessert Social on January 31 at 7:30pm.
I close with a personal story and an ask for a pledge from each of you, our incumbent families.
I was cooking some sausage penne one night and I needed fresh rosemary, so I went to my neighbor’s door (he had a beautiful and bodacious rosemary bush) to ask to have some. He said of course, then he added as I walked away, “Take what you need and need what you take”. Wow, I thought that is deep. I smiled at him and said, “ok, thanks.” Then I stood there and instead of just taking a cutting I pondered what do I really need and made a very precise cut with my sharp pruners.”
I ask each of you here, to “take what you need and need what you take”. As you re-enroll and apply for tuition assistance and discounts consider if you can take less or give back more, and pray for the School. This place is worth it and we need your help.
SCS School Board Vice President