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Hopkins House Trustees Approve 2015/16 Budget

April 28, 2015 09:23 PM
At their meeting on January 27, the Trustees approved a $4.6 million budget for Hopkins House, a 4% cut from the previous year.  The bulk of this cut is to the Central Administration.  The budget adds just over a $1 million in new funding for programs and services. The new budget takes effect on July 1, 2015.

The approved budget includes a $5 per week tuition increase at the Helen Day Preschool Academy (Alexandria campus), generating an additional $14,000 annually.  These additional funds will be matched by $35,000 to be raised from donors.   The combined total of nearly $50,000 in new funding for the Helen Day Preschool Academy will "enhance its classroom enrichment activities, purchase new educational supplies, implement physical plant repairs and upgrades, and support faculty training," said Chief Operating Officer Alvin T. Butler, Jr. in a statement released to academy parents.

The budget also allocates $426,700 in scholarship aid and tuition assistance to help low-resourced families shoulder the tuition increase.  "The cost of quality care is rising but the family income to support this rising cost is not", said Butler.

Despite a recent jump in the number of upper income families applying for preschool scholarships, the Trustees declined to approve a recommendation from its Scholarships & Recognitions Committee to set income caps on eligibility for preschool scholarships, sending the question back to the committee for further study.  Many of the trustees expressed concern that even upper income families today are struggling in the current economy, and they do not want the children of deserving families with compelling financial need to be denied access to Hopkins House's high quality early education.  

Other Issues Discussed
The Trustees also reviewed trend analysis data on the socio-economic diversity of the preschool academy student body.  While the data shows that enrollment at the James L. & Juliette McNeil and Innovative Preschool Academies is trending toward greater socio-economic diversity, enrollment at the Helen Day Preschool Academy is trending in the opposite direction.  This has been a recurring concern of Hopkins House officials in recent years.  [Read a just released Report that describes troubling racial, ethnic and economic disparities in American Preschools.] The Trustees scheduled a special discussion of this subject during their annual retreat in June.   The retreat is open to preschool academy parents and the public.
At the request of the Preschool Academy Parents Councils, the Trustees amended the School Year Master Calendar to move the preschool academy graduation up six weeks, to Saturday, June 13.  The three academies will hold graduation ceremonies on the same day but at different times, in order to allow officers and trustees to attend each.  This change brings to an end a two year debate regarding the benefits of year-round preschool versus some parents wanting their children to have a summer break.