Envisioning Pike's Re-opening
Our goal is to have students on campus as much as possible. We want to be together as a community to optimize our learning environment because we have always known that it is the relationship of the student and the teacher that is at the heart of successful educational programs.
All of the planning and preparation that our community continues to do is rooted in science and data and is designed around what’s best for children from a wellness and academic perspective. The health and safety of Pike’s students, faculty, staff and community are at the forefront of all of our planning and decision making.
As you know, the following three groups have been actively planning and preparing for the re-opening of campus in the fall:
- COVID-19 Task Force
- Head of School and Administrative Team
- Finance Committee
The COVID-19 Task Force is charged with developing an overall plan and the policies relating to COVID-19, the administrative team is focused on practices, implementation and enforcement of the same, and the Finance Committee is establishing resource allocation accordingly. In addition, the Administrative team is responsible for programming, scheduling, personnel, curricular and co-curricular changes required or desirable for a post-COVID-19 Pike.
Health & Safety
Despite many unknowns, we are fairly certain that ultimately, when the Pike community returns to the campus, things will be different. Reducing the likelihood of COVID-19 transmission at Pike will require many measures. Some practices and processes that will likely be implemented are below.
We are committed to implementing these policies and practices, as much as possible, in an educational and student-friendly manner. In these times, we hope to create a culture for our students where responsible citizenship, and not fear of the unknown, is the basis for the new environment.
Pike’s Financial Outlook
Over the past several decades, our Board of Trustees has been committed to the wise financial stewardship of Pike’s resources. This requires constant vigilance, and we are grateful for the time and effort of our Business Office team under the sound guidance of our Finance Committee. This careful planning allows the school to respond flexibly during this crisis. As we have mentioned before, this spring, we had a significant reduction of income from ancillary sources of revenue that were critical to our operating budget, such as lost rental revenue, loss of other service income, and unmet goals for The Pike Fund (despite the incredible generosity displayed by all of you on One Pike Day).
At this time, our projection for revenue for the next school year is yet more significantly down, due to projected losses for a full year of lost ancillary revenue, and due to the volatile economic environment, which likely will also impact philanthropy and endowment earnings. Furthermore, while our enrollment for 2020-21 is healthy, we expect enrollment to be down, and we anticipate significant costs associated with bringing students safely back to campus, including safety and wellness expenses, the procurement of required PPE, additional technology, and an extraordinary increase in cleaning and disinfection costs. Thus, in addition to the significant cost-cutting measures outlined below, we expect to uphold tuition pricing and to commit to our employees for the coming year, recognizing that our teachers and staff will be expected not only to perform their “regular” jobs exceptionally, as they always do, but also to make health and safety a priority while children are in the building.
Even amid this vast uncertainty, we are confident that Pike is in a solid position to navigate this crisis. Pike, like other independent schools, cannot evade the economic consequences of COVID-19, which are likely to be multi-year in nature. With this backdrop, our Board of Trustees has approved a new budget for our next academic year that will help address some of the unique circumstances we as a community face while maintaining the flexibility to adjust as needed. While many decisions will come into sharper focus in the coming days and weeks, it is clear that we need to take some actions to align our spending with a significant decline in our revenue. These cost-cutting measures include:
- Not funding our retirement plan matching program for all employees for the 2020-2021 school year.
- Putting on hold our relationship with our food service provider, FLIK. They will not provide lunch to students and employees this upcoming school year and FLIK employees have been furloughed.
- Cancelling or deferring as much as possible discretionary spending.
- Deferring all capital projects not directly related to enhanced safety, health and wellness.