Author Topic: Co-op preschools and their finances  (Read 363 times)

Lentils4Lunch

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Co-op preschools and their finances
« on: September 13, 2017, 08:02:00 AM »
Hi,

We participate in a co-op preschool. It's great, the tuition is lower because the parents volunteer in the classrooms as aides. However, there is one thing that irks me about this school: they are not transparent about their money. Not at all. Last year, they had a fantastic fundraising year. We exceeded our fundraising goal by a lot. I know this because I am friends with the parent who was in charge of the fundraising. Now, a few of us are asking: where did this money go?

This school doesn't publish an annual financial report (that I know of).  Is that normal? Any other co-op preschool parents out there? Do your preschools share their financials? I am wondering if we should ask. Is it worth it? I don't want to piss off the board, but then aren't we entitled to know where our money is going?

zhelud

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Re: Co-op preschools and their finances
« Reply #1 on: September 13, 2017, 09:44:42 AM »
If you are in a parent-run coop, you should absolutely be getting some kind of financial report. 
Are the board meetings open?  You may want to get involved. Usually these boards are begging for participation, you may end up becoming a board member if you show up enough.

Goldielocks

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Re: Co-op preschools and their finances
« Reply #2 on: September 13, 2017, 12:09:45 PM »
If it is a not for profit society, then there is a requirement to have an AGM (annual meeting) where the budget is voted upon.  I would call up the chair of the board to ask.  One way to know that it is a not for profit society is if they issue charitable tax receipts for pure donations during fundraising time.   The not for profit fundraising money, at the very least, needs to have a budget that is available for all members to review.

Alternatively, this could be a privately run preschool, where the owner / teacher reduces costs by having parents commit to performing some of the duties.  In this case, fund raising should be specifically and clearly tied to a purchase or else people will refuse to donate without a tax receipt, because the money could just go to pay the owner / teacher salary and profits.

A Comparison:

Currently, parent participation preschools here charge $110 per month for two half-days per week, plus annual expectation of $200 fundraising, $75 for registration fee at start of year.  These run with one early childhood educator teacher per class and 2-3 volunteers (which combines clean up and in-class volunteer time).     The "drop and shop" e.g., no parent volunteers required during classtime, only for after-school volunteer roles, program is 3 afternoons per week for $195 per month, same fundraising and setup fees.   Classes are 3 hours long.

Minimum wage is $11 per hour, the ECE trained, experienced teacher/owner would be making at least $25 per hour.  (Reference point, incase you are in a very LCOL area).

Cranky

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Re: Co-op preschools and their finances
« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2017, 02:14:48 PM »
I teach at a school that is organized as a cooperative, and the financials absolutely are open for view. The annual financial reports are presented in (great & boring) detail at the annual meeting, and there is an update at every board meeting.

I'd say that if you want to know, you should go to a board meeting and talk to the finance committee.

Optimiser

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Re: Co-op preschools and their finances
« Reply #4 on: September 14, 2017, 02:47:11 PM »
If they are a not for profit their tax returns should be public record.

http://foundationcenter.org/find-funding/990-finder