Some shifts in Poly’s budget have been required in order to uphold academic excellence and an equitable experience for all Poly students while adhering to new health and safety requirements and recommendations. While Poly is saving some money from routine expenditures that won’t need to be spent, like events and student travel, the new expenses associated with COVID and new health and safety requirements far outweigh the savings.
Poly will save about $300,000 by halting those routine expenditures that don’t apply while we continue to social distance. Even with those savings, Poly is anticipating a net loss of $1.5-3 million. Here are some examples of new expenses -- all of which are either new health and safety requirements or essential for upholding academic excellence and an equitable experience for all Poly students.
- Emergency tuition assistance. We have provided so far about $500,000 in emergency tuition assistance to families, most of whom have never needed financial aid before. Our CFO is anticipating a continuing need for emergency financial support to families until the pandemic crisis improves significantly.
- Additional teachers and temporary staff. Lower School class sizes have been reduced to smaller cohorts (pods) in order to facilitate physical distancing requirements and create the best experience possible for our youngest Panthers. Also, additional substitute teachers or proctors will be required throughout K-12 in order to support a blended on-site and virtual teaching environment, and more teachers having to stay-home-when-sick.
- Rental of new spaces and repurposing of existing spaces. We’ve rented modular units and purchased tents for additional classrooms. Founders Hall and the North Campus Library have been reconstructed to be used as classrooms. The nurse’s office has been updated to include a COVID isolation center.
- COVID testing and contact tracing. Poly is planning to implement some version of regular COVID testing and contact tracing, and there will be costs associated with these services, software and equipment.
- Summer school which helps to generate some revenue for the school, was significantly reduced in size.
- Classroom materials and supplies for teachers and students. For students in particular, Poly isn’t willing to compromise the student experience. Additional laptops and tablets were purchased so that all students in Lower and Middle school would have a device at home. Additional musical instruments have been purchased so students in that program have an instrument at home to practice and learn. And many standard classroom supplies have been either shipped via mail or delivered by Poly staff to students and teachers at home.
These are just some of the ways the budget is being stretched. These new expenses are primarily related to new requirements that other schools are responding to as well. We’re fortunate at Poly to have donors with the foresight to have helped us build some reserves that we can tap into now, during this crisis.