At a parents meeting held yesterday evening, 13th February, St. John's Academy Principal, Archimandrite Irenei, led a discussion with parents and teachers of the school, together with members of the Academy's Board of Directors, on constructive plans for securing the financial security of the Academy into the future. Given an operational deficit that has depleted reserve funds over the past few years, Fr. Irenei addressed the need for the parent community to step into the activities already in motion through the Board of Directors and school administration, to ensure that the Academy does not maintain an operational deficit into the new school year, but instead operates on a balanced and positive budget that will ensure its long life and robust operations.
In a constructive conversation that formed the heart of the meeting, the various issues involved in the school's financial situation were discussed, including the basic fact that tuition income does not at present cover the cost of operating the Academy, together with an outline of the host of activities already taking place that have helped cover and diminish the deficit -- which have included major fundraising efforts on the part of the Board and other groups (such as the Board's recent Fundraising Dinner, which raised in excess of $18,000); generous donations from the school's supporters; as well as personal sacrifices from teachers and staff, several of whom have taken voluntary salary decreases and even helped fund student tuition coverage in order to support the school in these difficult times.
The discussion then focused on what steps need to be taken by the community of parents and families who have children in the school, to make sure that our income levels increase to a balanced budget for the year ahead and all subsequent years. Families discussed a willingness to pay increased tuition, and discussed various aspects involved in a front-loading fundraising donation program for families, which allows a consistent fundraising income prior to events, with fundraising donations paid forward being reduced from tuition costs as the fundraisers themselves take place, etc. The majority of the conversation focused on details on this plan, which, when coupled with a transfer of tuition payments from a 10-month to a 12-month calendar, results in only a slight increase in monthly payments, with these payments decreasing throughout the year as fundraising activities bring in income for the school.
The spirit of the meeting was positive and constructive, and the sense of commitment to the Academy's future -- both on the part of the faculty and staff, as well as all our families -- was readily apparent.
The meeting concluded with the distribution of printed matter to assist families in considering the details discussed, and the setting of our next Parents Evening (Thursday, 23rd February at 7.00 p.m.) as the opportunity to give the matters further consideration prior to voicing support for a specific plan of action to the Board of Directors. Families are asked to consider the matters discussed over the coming days, and to e-mail all questions, comments, concerns or suggestions to the Principal prior to the meeting on 23rd February.
Our sincere thanks to our wonderful and dedicated parents and families for such a productive meeting!