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Saturday, 30 January 2021

Thoughts on discounts

The attractiveness of discounts are obvious - who doesn't want to pay less for something? - but they have consequences that may not be so evident, primarily their unfortunate effect on school finances. For this reason, the board is not inclined to continue discounting beyond the three quarters (Q4 last year, Q1 and Q2 this year) that we have already discounted.

A 10% discount for a quarter saves parents on average around $250 per child but costs the school over $150 000 to provide. We simply do not have the reserves to cover substantial or protracted discounts and can only fund them by cutting costs. We did have to cut staff salaries last semester by up to 30% at a time when the demands on staff were quantitatively and qualitatively different than before. Every single staff member without exception agreed to take the salary cut to help the school through that difficult period but I would be reluctant to prolong this.

I know that many of us are facing tough economic times at the moment. Our board Finance Committee is actually looking at a proposal for needs-based scholarships to help tide families over these tough times. I do not know whether this proposal will find favour with our board, but I see it as a better response than just cutting fees.

I know also that home-based learning is not the same as coming to school, but we are doing our best in circumstances not of our making. Our priority is to open our campus as soon as we can do so in a way that is compatible with our responsibilities to keep safe students and staff and to assist the national effort to combat this dreadful disease. Until then, we need your support.

The question of discounting did come up in the sidebar at the virtual town hall and I didn’t address it, which was an oversight rather than an intention. As always, feel free to share your thoughts with a comment below.

14 comments:

  1. I think the school should Give a discount of 15%, like we all are suffering in this pendamic even our salaries are reduced to 30%.

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    1. Hello - I know that our board members do read this blog and are sensitive to parents views - thank you for sharing your opinion.

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  2. I agree with the 15% discount..

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    1. Hello - I know that our board members do read this blog and are sensitive to parents views - thank you for sharing your opinion.

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  3. I agree with the 15% discount as well. All the parents are affected by reduced salaries due to the current situation. It is unfair for the school to demand full school fees being fully aware of the global pandemic and the effect it has had on the economy. Our children are all currently online which brings up the question of what expenses the school has? Us parents are having to pay for unlimited WIFI as well as high electricity bills due to running laptops.

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    1. Hello - To be honest, education economics is dominated by fixed costs, principally teacher salaries. Because of this, our costs do not really go down by much even when campus is closed. We do save a little on electricity and I will look into exactly how much this is, but I expect it is a very small fraction.

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  4. We have all been affected by paycuts and we are very grateful to the school for offering the discounts. We have made sacrifices to make sure fees are paid. Times are tough but I fall on the side of school management. The knock effect of us paying $250 less per child is immense for the school. In the end its our children who will suffer as we will loose our amazing teachers. As far as I know all other schools on the same level as ISL are back to full school fees and back to paying staff full salaries. Quite attractive for our teachers to get a full salary if we are not careful. We have to support our teachers who i think have been incredible. Do people really know how hard its been for them in all of this? ISL has the best HBL in Zambia and that is what you are paying for. Dont forget there also was no increase in school fees this year.

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    1. Thank you for your - accurate - observations and the sacrifices you have made to support us. We do need to accept that the school requires resources to run and to retain the teachers who are doing their best under these trying conditions.

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  5. If cutting the costs would result in cutting the quality of services, then we should judiciously consider the cost/benefit outcomes of doing so. If we want top-notch education during these strange times, we will have to pay for it.

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    1. Hello - In the long run there is no getting away from the fact that we must charge what it costs. Thank you for your realism and support.

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  6. Even a 7.5%-10% discount would be appreciated considering most of us get paid in Kwacha and not $. As a single earner in the family, I would most certainly appreciate any form of discount as I do try to pay for a full year at one go. I do support the school and all its staff, but this pandemic has not only hit the school but the entire world.

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    1. Hello - I know that board members do read this blog and the comments on here. Your suggestion to offer at least a minor discount is a nice attempt to balance helping parents with wrecking school finances. Thank you for your support.

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  7. I agree that ISL is doing a good job. But in this difficult times we all have to contribute to the loss whether it is parents, teachers and the management. Just burden the parents for quality education is not fair. All the companies have reduced salaries , many of them have lost their jobs. Each parent cannot come and disclose his difficulties. Moreover this will also force parents to change schools because they will not able to pay fees. So it shall be wise that we all contribute to this situation.

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    1. Hello - I certainly think this is a valid perspective and agree that many of us are seeing hard times due - at least in part - to the virus.

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