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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So this has been bothering me for a while, I'd be interested to get folks input here. My daughter attends a montessori school which is a for profit corporation owned by the Director and Business Manager. I don't have any overall problem with this. However, there is a parent organization for the school and the parent org pushes fundraising big time. They talk about how nearby montessori school's parent organizations raise $75K or more a year for their schools and their goal is only $10K. They sent a letter out asking everyone to contribute to reach their goal. The m schools they talk about that raise so much money are both nonprofit however, this one is not.

The parent org has nonprofit status, they do their own activites which they fund, but most of the money goes back to the school int he form of grants the director applies for. Mostly the grants pay for materials. The problem I have is that as a privately held corporation, the director has no obligation to open her books to the public. I have no idea how much money she is making out of this, how do I know whether she would buy the materials without the help of the parent org (thus reducing her profit) or if she is really getting more as a result, etc. I don't feel comfortable giving even more money (tuition is already very expensive) that I don't really KNOW is going to further help the kids. It feels like the equivilent of my local grocery store asking me to donate to them so they can buy new shelves and improve my shopping experience.

I do know however (public information) that they just built a new very expensive house (4100 sq feet - $750K) in a more expensive town a few towns away two years ago and put down a sizeable down payment. I honestly looked her up because I was hoping she lived in a little house somewhere and I could put my mind at ease.

We don't have a lot of extra money over paying the tuition, but if I knew it was going to better everyone's education and keep tuition down for those who really can't afford it, but I don't know if I'm doing that or helping the Director's pay the mortgage on their huge house.

So I'm wondering - anyone else have a privately owned montessori school - do they fundraise aggressively?
 

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My dd attended a for-profit Montessori school for two years. They did a little fundraising... we did wrapping paper sales once... they did a group small-hands order... that was about it.

FWIW dd had a very good experience with this school but based on some changes that were taking place around the time we left I think we will look somewhere else when ds starts school. Next time around I may specifically look for a non-profit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I did express my concern to the president of the parent org, who passed it along (without my name) to one of the directors. She sent me back her reply, which did make me feel better. She said they do not take any profit from the corporation (they do make salaries, slightly lower than typical for their positions) and it is only recently the corporation has not required them to put their own money in.

She explained they want to remain private because other non-profit montessori schools they worked at in the past inevitably replaced the montessori trained director with a non-montessori trained director to save money and they really wanted to stay with the true montessori vision (and of course make sure they didn't lose their jobs, which I can understnad, they started the school, they really don't want to be replaced)

So I feel better about it now, I don't think they are the types that would outright lie about this kind of thing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
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Originally Posted by wednesday View Post
I don't really see how being non-profit would put their jobs in jeopardy...maybe someone else knows more about that.
If you are a non-profit you have to have a board of directors and they are in ultimate control, just like in a regular publicly traded corporation. It's part of the incorporation, so they cannot be in control of what the board decides, even if they are sitting onthe board. (In a private corp you do not have a board, the owners make the decisions and the same person can serve in all capacities, president, ceo, cfo, etc) The board could decide to replace the director with a non-montessori trained director who commands a lesser salary to save money, thus removing them of their jobs.

My dad sits on the board of a non-profit school for autistic kids started by a friend of his. The board could vote to fire her if they chose despite the fact that she started the school and it runs out of her home. My understanding is what these folks are saying is that this is what they have seen happen in other schools - not right away, but over time.
 

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We are a for profit school and we are just now forming a non profit organization for the school. The money we raise will go to whatever the fund raiser was earmarked for. Right now we are doing a silent auction to raise money for the 100 years of M school so the teachers and staff can attend. Also part of that will go to a student who passed away last month family and their daily living bills. I do know that our staff does not rake in the big bucks. Matter of fact the directress did not take a check for many many months because the funds just were not there. It is not cheap to run a school even the for profit schools are not pocketing a ton of money. I sat and did the math for our school and these people are not getting paid much for the future they are providing our children with. Please sit back and take some time to think that these people are not in this for the money they are in it for the children. I am sure they could have taken better jobs somewhere else if they were all for the money.
 
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