School Contracts - Mothering Forums

Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
#1 of 16 Old 04-20-2006, 05:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
gamom's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 114
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I am considering a montessori school for my 2 1/2 year old for the next school year. I have gotten the chance to observe 3 schools (in my area) and I think I have narrowed it down to one school. Thing is the school requires a 3 year commitment (through the preschool years). As the contract in the handbook reads there is no trial period offered and the parent is obilgated to pay the balance of the tuition if you decide to leave the school. I was wondering if this is common place with contracts. I am going to speak to the director with my concerns about this in hopes to get some type of trial period at least. I have a good feeling about the montessori process but I do not want to feel locked into anything for 3 year period, yk. So I guess my question is, how long are you under contract with your school (is it done on a year to year basis or do you have to "lock" in for the total preschool years)?

Any advice on how to approach this with the director would be appreciated.
thanks
Gloria
gamom is offline  
#2 of 16 Old 04-20-2006, 05:39 PM
 
Kirsten's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Washington state
Posts: 5,463
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Hi Gloria,

I don't frequent the Montessori section of this board but saw this under new posts.

In my opinion, this is very straightforward - if their program was good, they wouldn't need to FORCE you to stay...

In all my research of preschools (I repeat it every time I have a child approaching three - in case anything has changed or new options have come up - three times so far), I have never even HEARD of anyone requiring a contract of any kind - not even one year, no less three!

Where I live, it is common to have to pay the last month's tuition up front, and to get a discount if you pay for the entire year up front.

I would never sign a three year contract for a preschool that I didn't already have personal knowledge of. Even then, it just is a huge red flag to me. Why in the world do they say they require the 3 year contract? Good preschools get repeat business. Bad ones don't. I am really curious as to what their reasoning is.
Kirsten is offline  
#3 of 16 Old 04-20-2006, 05:48 PM
 
moondiapers's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Lakeport, California
Posts: 6,151
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
A standard preschool contract doesn't require anything like this. Usually it requires 1 month's paid notice to break the contract .

Heather married to my highschool sweetheart 6/7/02 :cop: Mother to Dani age 14 and Timmy age 10 Nadia 1/29 :
moondiapers is offline  
#4 of 16 Old 04-20-2006, 06:28 PM
Banned
 
CharlieBrown's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: garden variety
Posts: 5,087
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kirsten
I have never even HEARD of anyone requiring a contract of any kind - not even one year, no less three!
I have four years experience with montessori preschool in my area. My children attended two different preschools. Preschool only, no contract other than 1st and last month up front.
other preschool was part of an elementary school, which required a contract, so to keep the school uniform all signed an annual contract. It did state in the policy manual, if you leave the school, you can't return, which I thought was bizarre.
daughters attend a montessori elementary school now and we do sign yearly agreements.

having someone tell me in order to attend a preschool I must first sign a three agreement sounds like bad news.

good luck with your decision!
CharlieBrown is offline  
#5 of 16 Old 04-20-2006, 07:22 PM
 
UUMom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Posts: 9,767
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Most private (non -religious) schools have parents sign a contract like that. However, I have never seen one that didn't also offer a way to get tuition insurance. LOL Who knew tution insurance existed? Yet it's quite common. I would ask about the insurance, and I would not sign such a contract without it. That doesn't bode well, imo. OTOH, it may have come in the application or acceptance package. You might check that and see. While this is a pita, private chools have a right to protect themselves financially.

However, 3 years is ridiculous. They are crazy. Do they continue to enroll unhappy children? And how would they let a 'difficult' child go?

That school would be a big fat N -O for me.
UUMom is offline  
#6 of 16 Old 04-20-2006, 07:27 PM
 
UUMom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Posts: 9,767
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by moondiapers
A standard preschool contract doesn't require anything like this. Usually it requires 1 month's paid notice to break the contract .
IME, this is common in private schools. Of course, I have never heard of a 3 yr contract. Year -to -year is more like it. I'd run like the wind from this place. Clearly, they don't care about a good fit and happy children.
UUMom is offline  
#7 of 16 Old 04-20-2006, 07:45 PM
 
flyingspaghettimama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Posts: 4,671
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I think it depends upon where you live. Contracts are extremely common where I live, even for preschool. Yet, no tuition insurance - which I have seen in other parts of the country. It's very competitive to get into some schools as well, so I guess that's how they justify it - if they take a chance on your kid, you'll take a chance on them, and nobody can back out. They don't want to be out the rest of the year's tuition.

I have never heard of a three year contract, however. I can see the reasoning for it though - many M parents back out of the third year of M school (age 6, generally) in order to get their kids into public Kindergarten, which really does disrupt both the environment and the age dynamics of the class. It does suck - my daughter is the eldest in her class, most kids left for public K. I guess this is this school's method of dealing with it. Most M schools in my area want you to commit verbally at least to staying for the whole three year cycle. Most parents do verbally commit, but then end up leaving in any case for public K.
flyingspaghettimama is offline  
#8 of 16 Old 04-20-2006, 08:08 PM
 
UUMom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Posts: 9,767
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Just an FYI. Anyone can purchase tuition insurance. It's private and not offerred by schools, but some schools will tell you about it. Others don't bother. If you are going to plunk down a boat load of money for anything, try to protect yourself.
UUMom is offline  
#9 of 16 Old 04-20-2006, 09:39 PM
 
flyingspaghettimama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Posts: 4,671
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
thanks, UUmom, I didn't know that.
flyingspaghettimama is offline  
#10 of 16 Old 04-21-2006, 11:07 AM - Thread Starter
 
gamom's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 114
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by UUMom
Just an FYI. Anyone can purchase tuition insurance. It's private and not offerred by schools, but some schools will tell you about it. Others don't bother. If you are going to plunk down a boat load of money for anything, try to protect yourself.
What is tuition insurance, never heard of it. How can you find information on it.

I am going to go back to the school next week to discuss the contract issues with the director and some other general questions that I have. All of the other schools that I checked out all have contracts but they are only for the school year. They also offer about 6 week trial period in which the parent or the school can back out of the contract without any additional obilgation except application fee and tuition for the 6 weeks.
gamom is offline  
#11 of 16 Old 04-21-2006, 11:41 AM
 
UUMom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Posts: 9,767
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I would be *very* leary of a school who demands a 3 yr contract. What would they do with a child who wasn't fitting in? A child who might have issues the school cannot deal with. A bully, for instance? I don't get it.

The insurance that is most popular is called, well, The Tuition Refund Plan by the Dewar Group. Check with your insurance provider - they may be an underwriter. I don't know where you are, but we got ours through OneBeacon Insurance in Quincy, MA.
UUMom is offline  
#12 of 16 Old 04-21-2006, 02:08 PM
 
funkykat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: PNW
Posts: 99
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
i agree with the pp's, 3 years seems ridiculous. A LOT could happen in 1 year. my son has been attending a montessori school here for 4 years, we have to sign a 1 year contract. all of the private schools around this area do, what i don't get is why then a lot of kids start at half year??? (jan.) good luck, i personally would not do that. shoot most schools can't even keep their teachers 3 years and that is one of the characteristics of a montessori school!!
funkykat is offline  
#13 of 16 Old 04-22-2006, 02:38 PM
 
zeldamomma's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 2,226
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I could understand their encouraging parents to commit to 3 years, because I think our school tends to "lose" older kids to ps kindergarten. But requiring it is nuts-- what if you move, or have a change in your financial circumstances? Lots of things can change in 3 years. I wonder how many kids there are miserable, but their parents can't afford to move them to a different school?

Asking families to commit for a year is reasonable, IMO, because the school has annual expenses and there's much less opportunity for them to find another child to fill the spot in the middle of the year. But 3 years doesn't make any sense. It would make me worry about the values of the school administration.

ZM
zeldamomma is offline  
#14 of 16 Old 04-26-2006, 02:57 PM
 
OnTheBrink's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Central Florida
Posts: 1,188
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
We sign a contract agreeing to pay for the full year, even if we decide to leave. I understand that they need to protect their budget. That's fine with me. But three years seems extreme!
OnTheBrink is offline  
#15 of 16 Old 05-01-2006, 01:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
gamom's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 114
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I was able to speak to the director to clarify things. The 3 year contract is an option to cover the preschool years. You are able to have a year to year agreement but would have to pay the regular tuition. If you make the 3 yrear commitment you can save almost $3,000 per year.
gamom is offline  
#16 of 16 Old 05-01-2006, 02:46 PM
 
4evermom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: PA
Posts: 8,834
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
I had to sign a year contract for my ds' pre-k. He went for 6 weeks and HATED it. The school had looked great on paper and in person. But the actuality was not the same as it had been represented. I had that tuition insurance (it was mandatory) but I was still liable for 40% of the year's tuition plus 100% of expenses already incurred on his behalf (many of these expenses are at the beginning of the year) so I ended up paying half a year's tuition for 10 half days (I was only taking him 3 days per week because it was so stressful and he was sick half the time). I honestly thought ds would love this school. it was the only real mistake that I have made as a parent to ds. No way would I sign a 3 year contract, even with the tuition insurance.

Mom to unschooling 4everboy since 8/01
4evermom is offline  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Drag and Drop File Upload
Drag files here to attach!
Upload Progress: 0
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Mothering Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
If you do not want to register, fill this field only and the name will be used as user name for your post.
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off