Head of School Quarterly Report - March 2011
Dear Parker Families,
The opportunity is ours.
The future is now
I remain convinced there is no better investment in your children's future and no better value than a Parker education. Parker families make a considerable financial commitment in sending their child(ren) to Parker - a powerful expression of confidence in Parker. Along with the Board of Trustees, all of us at Parker acknowledge that our greatest responsibility is to ensure that a Parker education remains both affordable and accessible, while providing every student with the highest quality program, curriculum and instruction. Admittedly, this is no easy task.
While Parker remains among the most affordable major independent schools in California, we cannot ignore the fact that the real costs associated with providing the highest quality education will continue to rise. In ongoing budget discussions, we have identified opportunities to reduce expenses, maximize budgets, streamline duties and increase efficiencies while enhancing the quality of our program and instruction.
Yet in order to deliver the best education possible, to sustain excellence in program and curriculum, to recruit, hire and retain top-notch faculty, and to offer a comprehensive curriculum that is relevant and prepares our students for success in college and beyond, it is imperative that we take stock of our financial future today.
Currently, tuition dollars cover the overwhelming majority of our expenses, while the Parker Fund (annual giving) and our endowment income make up the balance. Together, tuition dollars and philanthropy ensure that the School has the financial resources necessary to support faculty and to develop and sustain the outstanding programs that distinguish Parker as a truly exceptional place at which to teach and to learn.
Compared to top independent schools both regionally and nationally, Parker is among the leaders on some of the most essential benchmarks including student and faculty loyalty, financial aid, and college matriculation. Yet when it comes to fundraising, we are too near the bottom. For 2009-2010, our participation in the Parker Fund was less than half of that of top independent schools nationally. Likewise, the size of our endowment remains among the lowest in the country. Even as Parker's regional and national reputation continue to grow, our high level of dependency on tuition revenue, our relatively low participation rate in the Parker Fund, and the current size of our general endowment reminds us that we are not in as financially secure and enviable a position as a school of our standing needs to be.
So much about Parker is right and good. We are surrounded by talented, bright, inspired, kind-hearted and civic-minded students, faculty, alumni and families. We believe in and live a mission committed to academic excellence, diversity, balance, wellness and the education of the whole child. As we approach our Centennial in the 2012-2013 school year, we have much to celebrate.
In order for us to advance our mission and sustain an excellence in program and people, we must embrace a new financial model where philanthropy becomes a prominent source of revenue. Through effective and comprehensive fundraising, we, as an institution, can put the current and future state of the School in a more financially secure position. We hold a vision of a school that preserves its culture of diversity and advances its mission of excellence through a healthy endowment, empowering us to achieve at the highest possible levels. Through philanthropy, we can help mitigate future tuition increases, augment our endowed funds fortifying financial aid, and establish chairs recognizing faculty excellence.
In the life of a school, every generation has its challenges and opportunities. We are the benefactors of an extraordinary legacy of students, families and donors. It will be this generosity that affords our children the opportunity to grow, to thrive, and to experience the full measure of a Parker education. The opportunity belongs to our generation to "pay forward" what 100 years of founders, parents, faculty, alumni, grandparents and friends have done so well before us.
Let us accomplish together what so many have done individually participating in the philanthropic life of our school. Participation is powerful and creates its own unique momentum. It begins with each of us. Let that process begin today.
Head of School
Friday July, 15, 2011 at 09:13AM
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