I was once a parent at Sycamore and no matter how much I believed that Sycamore was the right choice for my children, it was sometimes painful to write tuition checks. As a parent, I found it interesting to learn that tuition did not cover the full cost of educating my children. Sycamore’s model of tuition plus philanthropic gifts to cover the budget is a very common independent school model.
Most independent schools operate on “ the gap” model. The gap is the difference between tuition and the actual cost of educating a student at Sycamore School. This year the gap is 19% of our operating budget. The balance of our needed income comes from other sources, including our savings interest and the Sycamore Fund, which provides the largest source of that income.
To cover the actual cost of educating a student would require a significant tuition increase. The Board believes that it is best to ask our community to contribute to the difference through philanthropic gifts, which are tax deductible. This year the difference between tuition and the cost to educate one student is approximately $1,300.
While some parents and grandparents can afford to give the difference between their students’ tuition and actual costs, there are others in our community that cannot afford to give at that level. However, every gift is valuable. A high participation rate amongst our staff, parents, past parents and alumni is often a factor as the school seeks foundation grants.
If we did not fund this “additional” $400,000 each year, Sycamore would be without many things that make Sycamore what it is today. For example, the Sycamore Fund helps provide for professional development, financial aid, 70+ field trips every year and 80+ classroom speakers. Sycamore is a special place that offers a unique education for gifted students and this would not be possible without the generosity of our whole community.
As this calendar year comes to a close and you consider making charitable donations, I hope you will consider giving to Sycamore. Gifts can be made by check, credit card or appreciated stock. For more information, please contact me, Holly Lee (317) 202-2504 or