Dear Kimberton Waldorf School Community,
As we have reached the mid-point of this school year, the Board of Trustees wants to update you on the financial well-being of our school.
In November 2013, the School’s auditors commended the Board and management of the School for making progress in reducing costs and having revenues exceed expenses. They also offered several recommendations including increasing enrollment and generating necessary revenues from this to support future balanced budgets; creating a long-range capital budget to set the direction of the school; and giving adequate attention to asset replacement and maintenance needs of the buildings, equipment, and campus.
Before receiving the auditors’ comments, actions were already being taken to address many financial goals. A task force was created last year by the Board of Trustees and the goals of the task force were all directed at supporting financial sustainability. Many of the actions that came out of the work of the task force focused on specific financial aspects such as tuition, financial aid, salaries and benefits, and other expenses. The development of a five-year financial plan was also a part of those actions. A conscious decision was made by the Board of Trustees last year to carry a deficit budget during the 2013-14 school year as we invest in a new governance model, in initiatives to strengthen and improve the quality of teaching and the programs that are offered, in efforts to increase enrollment, and in enhancing school communication. (You can read more about these initiatives in the Dean’s message.) Projections indicate that there will be a deficit this year, but it will be less than originally predicted.
A five-year financial plan is just about complete and budgets over that time period will absorb the deficit that is being carried. Kimberton Waldorf School is a pre-kindergarten through 12th grade school and the five-year plan includes this full Waldorf Education. The projections in the plan assume steady enrollment with trends toward full enrollment. This year our enrollment has remained steady with slight growth due to mid-year enrollments.
As you know, tuitions have increased for the 2014-15 school year and are expected to increase slightly the next few years as well, as we strive to achieve a tuition structure that accurately reflects the costs of providing an education at Kimberton Waldorf School. We are also holding salaries and benefits at their current level in order to help us achieve a balance of revenue and expenses.
There has been intense scrutinizing of expenses the past seven years in all areas from programs, salaries, and benefits to utilities and insurance. Alterations in services and in practices have allowed substantial savings in commercial insurance, medical insurance, and utilities. We are continuing to evaluate salaries, tuition levels, financial aid, employee benefits, and more in an effort to determine fairness for affected parties and sustainability for the School. These aspects are all being considered in the development of the five-year financial plan. We are, as well, exploring ways to increase the School’s endowment and other charitable funds. Additionally, a newly-formed finance committee has been created to support the Treasurer and Business Manager in continuing to make fiscally-sound practices and decisions.
While we are planning for growth, next year’s budget is balanced at current enrollment plus modest mid-year enrollments, consistent with recent years’ actual results. We feel good about our progress towards true financial sustainability. Over the next few years we will need to increase our investment in our teachers’ salaries and in our physical plant, but we feel confident that with everyone’s help, these are achievable goals. Your input, feedback, and questions are always welcome as we make Kimberton Waldorf School a shining beacon in education to make a difference in the future of the world.
The Board of Trustees
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