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.