MAJOR Question About Independent/Private Schools: Please Help

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Ms.Jasztal, Jan 21, 2012.

  1. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

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    Jan 21, 2012

    I am considering opening a school several years down the road- it could be as many as ten years in the future, or even more, with proper planning and consideration. It could be less. I have decided not to say I will do it in an "x" amount of time, though I am starting with a five-year timeline and modifying from there.

    I have major concerns.
    • Private/independent school teachers, do you have healthcare benefits and participate in your state's retirement system? I would want my teachers to have Blue Cross and Blue Shield like I do now in the public schools and participate in the Florida Retirement System. I desire for the employees to have security.
    • Does your school have a scholarship for lower income students like the Florida Step Up for Students scholarship? I really would want this to be available for my students.
     
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  3. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jan 22, 2012

    We do not have Blue Cross/Blue Shield. But we do have health and dental benefits; we're part of the MagnaCare network of health providers. In ALL my searches for doctors (pediatrician, GP for us, OB-GYN, breast surgeon, oncologist, radiation oncologist,ENT, endocrinologist) I've only come across ONE doctor NOT in the MagnaCare network.

    We're not in the state Retirement system but we do have a pension.

    - We're a Catholic school. We don't have any sort of a scholarship program, though our diocese does have one that our kids are welcome to be part of.

    And our kids can also apply to work at the school over the summer. They do every thing from painting classrooms to wordworking to gardening (We have a LOT of gardening!!!.) So it's not a scholarship, but it is a chance to earn money that could certainly be applied towards tuition or not.
     
  4. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Our local private schools did provide health insurance options, but the teachers did not participate in the state pension system (not sure if they had a different one).

    As I research private schools for my daughter, I am noticing that many do have scholarships available.
     
  5. GoldenPoppy

    GoldenPoppy Habitué

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    Jan 22, 2012

    We have the health insurance option of plans like Blue Cross or Kaiser. The school pays half of the teachers' premiums and any spouses or children are our responsibility. We have a retirement plan where we may put in a contribution of our choice per check and the school puts in 2% of our salary as an annual contribution. We do not participate in the state retirement system for teachers.

    We don't offer scholarships, but there have been arrangements where parents have paid some $ and paid off the remainder in trade. We have one family this year where the mom is an architect and she is doing the plans for the bungalow remodel to pay the balance.
     
  6. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    My mom worked in a private religious school for years. They did offer health insurance, but it was so bad my mom chose to drop it and use my dad's (public school- much better quality) insurance as a spouse. She said it covered very little and would have been almost like having no insurance at all. They did not participate in the state retirement system. They didn't offer scholarships- the school has been one step from going under for about ten years now and they need all the tuition money they can get. However, tuition was less than 4,000 with deals for siblings, so as far as private schools go it was pretty reasonable. My parents live in a middle class area and people just don't have the money to pay the outrageous fees most private schools charge, so if the school were to raise tuition they'd lose their students. It's also in an area where the public schools are quite good, so it's not like some situations where parents would do anything to keep the kids out of a bad public school district.
     
  7. kme93

    kme93 Companion

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    Jan 22, 2012

    I do have health insurance (United Healthcare). I actually don't pay a dime for my health insurance, my school covers it all. As a private school, we cannot participate in the state retirement system. However, we do have an excellent retirement system through the school. We're part of a larger collective of independent schools.

    We have excellent benefits, but I know that is not always the case with private schools. Our school has quite a large endowment and our tuition is very high.
     
  8. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Jan 22, 2012

    Yes to both of your questions. The scholarship for teacher's children is a nice perk. :)
     
  9. physteach

    physteach Companion

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    Jan 22, 2012

    We have BCBS for medical insurance and a separate dental/vision insurance. We contribute about 60 - 100 dollars a month total for these, which is fairly phenomenal.

    We are part of a state program for scholarship students. I believe this means that we get paid per student, but it just isn't as much as a full paying student. Children of faculty/staff may also attend at a discounted tuition. I enjoy the scholarship students because they really work hard to keep up their scholarship funding. They are an incredible asset to the class.
     
  10. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    The teachers at my daughter's private school do receive health benefits, but they don't have a retirement plan.
     
  11. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

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    I am impressed that many schools do offer these "perks" for employees. I believe to figure things out in 5-10 years, I will research a few different health companies that are offered to Florida's educators. BCBS is the most common. Then I will seek out how Florida's Independent School Network approaches pensions and retirement. I would not want potential educators at my school going from having all of those things to having none of those things.

    As for the scholarship, the Florida Step Up scholarship offers scholarships for very low-income families. Knowing that is offered pleases me because we are in a somewhat low-income area. Then as for employees' children, I would offer at least a 75-100% discount for tuition. Potential tuition would be $4,000 with an additional deposit fee and other small fees. That would be if all paid at once, and then it may about be $1,000-$1,500 higher if paid over time. I am not exactly sure about that yet. Not set in stone. A lot more research to conduct.

    By the way, is it that much more difficult to offer healthcare and a retirement plan for private school teachers?
     
  12. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    At my old school, we could get on the school health insurance plan and they would pay 50% of the employee's cost. There was no retirement plan, nor was there any disability or anything. We got 5 sick days and they rolled over for only one year.

    There were no full scholarships at my school, but larger privates around here do offer them. These are schools that are more generously funded by wealthy families and trusts. My school did offer some sliding-scale tuitions. There was no reduced tuition for teachers' children nor for 2nd children in a family.

    Our school had no buses because the insurance cost was too expensive.
     
  13. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

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    I do not think the 2nd child's tuition would be reduced at my school... but obviously I do not know anything for sure yet.

    I am wondering why some schools have such a skyrocketing tuition. It depends on outside support, I guess. I predict that tuition is used toward paying bills as well as taxes and salaries. To some $4,000 seems like a low aim, but I would not want to charge $10,000. The Florida Step Up scholarship only covers a little over $4,000 as well, which would work for the lower-income families to be covered 100%.
     
  14. Jem

    Jem Aficionado

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    Jan 22, 2012

    4k sounds like dream tuition, Ms. Jasztal! In my area, the average is between 15 and 20k!

    I did not have insurance at one private school I worked at, but did at the other private school (after 6 months). No retirement at all, but we invest outside of work anyhow.
     
  15. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

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    Thanks! I think hearing from MANY of you will lead me in the right direction. I am thinking about anyone who could be a single parent (and this is the only way they can get quality health insurance).

    My friend told me that if I follow through, it should be closer to $10,000, but the cost of living in Florida is not as higher as in California or some other states. We can ask for extra donations on top of $4,000, but I do not want anyone to think I am just focusing on the money aspect of it all.
     
  16. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    You have to plan for the fixed costs as well as the variable costs. Our school was very small, too small to afford to fixed costs. That affected everything. You'd certainly need a considerable amount of starting capital because it would probably be impossible to open funded by tuition alone. My school was a very modest one and $10,000 tuition wasn't enough to fund 100 students.
     
  17. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

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    Jan 22, 2012

    That's where 5+ years will come into play. Generating interest, getting supporters, making my vision known. I think my biggest fear is not having enough to cover everything. I'll still see if this is all in my future (or not).

    I'll figure out more over time about the right tuition to charge. Thanks for telling me about fixed and variable costs. I haven't heard those words in many, many years.

    I know of a few business administration professors I can speak with. Seems like that would be a wise move, on my behalf. Not going back to college, necessarily, but discussing what I need to do.
     
  18. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Whew, I sure haven't used those words in many years. You will need to find some rich funders, for sure.
     
  19. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

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    Jan 22, 2012

    That intimidates me a bit... 5-10 years, though. Pray I am led in the right direction with this, Upsadaisy.
     
  20. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    You've got it. I know your heart is in the right place.
     
  21. Missy

    Missy Aficionado

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    Health care and retirement are not particularly difficult to offer, but they are very expensive. All of the private schools in my area cost considerably more than $4,000.
     
  22. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

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    I have decided that I am eventually applying for a charter, not because I am a wimp, but because it is more feasible for me... :)
     
  23. Joyful!

    Joyful! Habitué

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    Jan 28, 2012

    Even in a charter school, you will face a lot of the same concerns. Costs are ALWAYS a factor. Everything is more expensive than what your budget declares. Things require repairs. Costs escalate. It is very tough to be benevolence minded and business minded at the same time. You have to keep your heart and your wallet in the right place to sustain the school and the vision you have.
     
  24. chemteach55

    chemteach55 Connoisseur

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    Jan 28, 2012

    I work in a private school and my children all attended private school. I have BCBS health insurance which I pay $100 of the monthly premium. It is a PPO with a $30 co-pay and most of my meds have been under $10. We do have a pension and they match what we put in our 401K up to 6%. The school that I teach at is from 6 weeks to 12th grade. Elementary school is about $4500 per year and high school is about $7000 per year. The school that my kids went to was about $5000 a year for elementary. When all 3 were in the same school, we got 25% off the 3rd child. It is the only school in the area that still gives a multiple child discount. My son went to an all boy's high school which was about $8000 per year and my daughter's went to an all girls school which was about $10,000 a year. There were paid insurance and pension plans at all schools that my children attended. I know from being around private schools so long that 90% of tuition goes towards paying teacher salaries and benefits and operational expenses. This is why fund raising is so important to private schools. All that my children attended and I have worked at have a huge fundraiser each year. My children's elementary school had a huge yearly fair and the high schools and the school that I teach at have silent auction fundraisers. They average about $50 a ticket to enter and then you can bid on the silent auction while eating food that is prepared by several area restaurants. They also usually have a cash bar. If you could afford to, you were encouraged to purchase something. We got some neat one of a kind items over the years but totally paid too much for them. A lunch with Troy Landry of Swamp People sold for $10,000 at a silent auction this year at a private school.
     

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