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March 2011 Board Meeting Minutes

30 Mar 2011

Agassiz Board meeting 3/21/11
Attending: Tracey Kaplan, Ben Mayer, Eric Wirch, Bianca Shagrin,
Gillien Todd, Kate Taylor

General update: Nonprofit Finance Fund is paid off!! Auction was beyond successful, thanks to the amazing efforts of the capital campaign committee.  The financial audit, which was required to close the mortgage, is wrapping up and looks fine.  We will close on the mortgage with Winter Hill Bank later this week or next.  We are about to send out admission letters for next year and also have a long waiting list.

Budget:  Next year’s budget represents approximately a 15% increase.  This is due to the costs of paying our mortgage and the associated costs of owning our own place (utilities, snow removal, etc); replacement of reserves; bringing on third assistant teacher; and repayment of yard loans.  Both the costs and revenue of the afterschool program are projected to go down because participation has been lower than anticipated, and therefore we only need one teacher to stay after school.  If participation rises next year, this will obviously change, but it is difficult to predict in advance.  We project that our total fundraising will go down somewhat because the tree sale/yard sale will have to be held at the new building, which will mean less foot traffic than at the Mass Ave location.  The board discussed the possibility of combining the first weekend of the tree sale with a party/open house for alumni, to hopefully increase sales.

The board discussed bringing on a 3rd assistant teacher, Paul.  We are legally not required to have this position, since the teacher/student ratio is permissible without it.  However, the third assistant would allow us to expand enrollment to 45 (from 43), and possibly pay less for substitutes.  These factors offset the additional cost to the school.  Also, the day runs much more smoothly when there is a third assistant.  Next year’s budget represents 6-7% increase in tuition.  However, our goal is to have no/minimal tuition increases for the next year or two, since our costs will go down as we pay off the family loans we took on in order to construct the yard. Once the yard loans are paid off, we will start to build up reserves again.

The board voted in favor of this budget.

Yard:  The teachers would like next phase of yard development to be putting in a bike path.  We also want to build a deck off the sliding door so that we can access the yard from the main room, and we would like to lay down sod. We also plan to build a sandbox. Several play structures will be brought over from the old Agassiz, probably during the April workday. We have about $6000 to spend on the yard, so need to prioritize and spend this money as wisely as possible.  The board agreed to consult with an alumni architect as well as our contractor as to whether it is necessary to retain a professional designer to assist with the yard.  The contractor can also assist us with determining the costs associated with the various projects, and advise us as to the proper timing for laying sod.  The board agreed that in general, it will be important to preserve adequate running space, and also that the teachers should drive the design of the yard.

Group updates:  Youngest group is still doing their child of the week unit.  They will be planning a group meeting soon, as well as some kind of spring outing.

Middle group just had a meeting with Richard.  Generally people are happy with how the year is going.

Oldest group is working on building a huge ship.  The kids are all getting along very well with each other and the group has really gelled this year.