Financial Impact of the Pandemicas of July 9, 2021
Financial Impact of the Pandemic
The Circle School’s income and savings have been greatly reduced by the pandemic, somewhat offset by loyal supporters, the national Paycheck Protection Program, and stringent measures to conserve cash. Although rebuilding the school’s finances and enrollment will take years, the school can feel confident, fortunate, and grateful to have the wherewithal to do so.
As ordered by Governor Tom Wolf, school was closed in 2020 from March 15 through the end of the school year. Staff were all retained at full pay and benefits. Some families were unable to complete their tuition payments. To conserve cash, the school deferred its mortgage payments for three months – thanks to Fulton Bank – and sold the two residential properties adjoining the Oakleigh campus (which had already been sold in 2019). For the 2020-21 school year, staff members accepted 12.5% reduction of hours and pay, with no reduction of benefits. In addition, founding staff members accepted additional reduction of pay and nominal hours, perhaps ramping down towards retirement. School Meeting kept a sharp eye on expenditures, including postponement of staff hiring that was in process, while also enacting generous financial terms for families.
School reopened on August 26, 2020, with greatly reduced enrollment – from 82 students pre-pandemic down to 35 in June 2021 – and a ban on new student enrollments. Because of high rates of covid cases locally, School Meeting closed the campus from Thanksgiving until January 11, then opened with limited on-campus hours, and re-opened fully on February 22, 2021. During the closures and limited opening, online “happenings” took place daily.
The school awarded extra financial aid to enable returning students, and charged tuition only for the time the campus was fully open, resulting in substantial additional loss of income while almost all expenses continued as though the school were open. The school also invested $33,000 of savings to draw people into the healthy air outdoors and to implement the 9-page Health & Safety Plan with desk shields, bipolar ionization for air quality, and other virus-stopping measures.
Pandemic-related financial losses so far are around $390,000, partially offset by support and expense reduction of $230,000. Additional losses in the coming year or two, as we rebuild enrollment and retain the strong staff team, are estimated at $240,000. Overall, then, the pandemic is estimated to reduce the school’s financial resources by net $400,000. This is a daunting setback, likely to delay plans and dreams a bit, but manageable for our fiercely determined school.
Financial Officer’s Report to School Meeting, July 2021