CEO Notebook |
The 2020-21 school year is one we will likely never forget. As summer approaches in earnest, first and foremost, I encourage you to take care of yourself, be a good role model for your school and staff, and make time to be with your family and friends. You have earned a break. Take one.
Knowing the committed independent school business officer and business office staff community, I would guess you’ll spend significant time preparing for the school year ahead. And for this, NBOA is here to help.
Find all of NBOA’s resources related to handling the COVID-19 pandemic on our dedicated resources page.
For most schools right now, reopening plans are top of mind. Creating a safe environment for your students, faculty and staff is the first priority. One resource that may help schools manage their learning communities and facilities is the Checklist for Reopening Independent School Campuses, which NBOA staff developed this spring. This tool addresses numerous areas: coordinating your response and communications, planning for a safe campus environment, establishing physical safety protocols, reviewing contracts and commitments, adjusting school finances, and more. The interactive, downloadable PDF includes space for you to customize and assign tasks.
Planning for our schools’ financial health in the coming years amid a variety of uncertain circumstances also requires careful consideration. I know many of you are discussing fall enrollment and budgeting according to different scenarios. Carefully managing a school’s largest expense line — faculty and staff compensation and benefits — is no mean feat in these conditions, nor is considering endowment draws, increased technology and operations costs, and other financial concerns. The recent NBOA webinar “The Financial Impact of COVID-19: Scenario Planning for Independent Schools Using the NBOA Long Range Financial Model” may help leaders navigate multiple variables. The program draws on NBOA’s recent flash survey and explains how to construct multiple budgets by adjusting enrollment numbers and net tuition revenue, salary and benefits expenses, and your endowment draw, among other factors. No one can predict the future, but with these tools, you can certainly be ready for it.
Like the schools that employ them, faculty and staff are facing myriad circumstances as they consider returning to campus, and many may be inquiring about employment protection through leave or another accommodation. To help you navigate both long-standing employment legislation as well as the emergency leave offered under the FFCRA through December 2020, NBOA developed an interactive Employee Leave Considerations Tool designed to help you to quickly assess what federal leave options are available to your employees when they request time off.
And while there is so much new in the environment, now is certainly not the time for your independent school’s business and financial operations to be on shaky footing. The second edition of NBOA’s Practical Guidance for Independent School Business Operations provides you the opportunity to conduct a comprehensive review of your polices, practices and procedures to ensure that you do not enter a tumultuous school year with “red flags” in areas such as fiduciary governance, human resources, and accounting and tax compliance among other areas. This recently released resource can help you ensure that your school has the foundation to meet the moment and operate in an exemplary fashion during a year when it matters most.
While we’ve heard the following many times, to me it still rings true and more important than ever: “We are in this together and we will get through this.” So as you plan some time to take care of yourself, please remember NBOA remains by your side, to help you take care of your independent school and your learning communities.
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