In order for an independent non-profit educational organization to become financially sustainable in a culture and environment that is highly consumer driven, leaders in schools will need to become increasingly creative in how they view and work with finances and the resource landscape (economic) in which they are embedded. Here are seven keys that every leader could consciously consider for their schools as they chart their financial future. (For a full version of this article without breaks, click here.)
1. Associative Economics
The idea behind associative economics arose from the work and insights of Rudolf Steiner in 1922 through his work with the first Waldorf School, and in a series of lectures on economics. Steiner’s visionary capacity brought to light a new imagination about economic life and money; that consciousness applied to the nature of transactions in the conduct of financial life would allow us to transform our relationships with each other and with money and provide a new basis for transforming the entire economic system. Understanding this is essential in the development of a school. (read more…)
2. The Intersection of School Finances and School Choice
Initiatives in the US around School Choice offer a wealth of insights into ways we can support the transformation of educational funding. The School Choice movement imagines a possible future where the social impulse of Waldorf education and its accessibility to more families of all economic levels might be realized. (read more…)
3. Rethinking Tuition
How we think about tuition, whether it is viewed as a payment, a mandatory contribution or a gift, has a significant effect on the financial relationships in the school and especially on development work and fundraising. The whole avenue of concerted, intentional, and value-driven development work is longing for further evolution. In many schools currently using a tuition-based model for financing their operation, we can find creative ways to think about and manage tuition. (read more…)
4. Government Support and Charter Schools’ Work to Reach a Wider Population.
In some countries, the separation between public funding and independent schools is less of an issue that in the US. In Australia and Canada, for instance, independent schools operate with significant support from the government. An article due later this month will explore the dynamics of government funding in Australia. (read more…)
5.Waldorf Movement Successes to Strengthen Enrollment and Fundraising
It is generally true that schools with more students have a stronger financial picture and that schools that are more effective at development work and fundraising also feel a reduction in the pressure that high tuitions place on parents. While these two areas, enrollment and fundraising, are important, they alone will not solve the primary financial challenges of schools. Nonetheless, we must do all that we can to increase our success in both areas. (read more…)
6. The history and challenges of school financing in the Waldorf Movement
It is essential to have an understanding of the history and context for the challenges of funding for Waldorf Education since the beginning. (read more…)
7. The Reality of Interdependence
All the resources you need for your school to thrive are already present in your community. The work is to recognize and support the needed capacities, not just in the classroom and across the faculty, but also in the parent body and in others in the local/regional economic community. The economic life, as re-imagined through Steiner’s and other’s insights, can help us to appreciate more and more the value of our relationships and interdependence with each other. Gradually, successful schools are finding new ways to create and nurture partnerships within the school and in the greater community that are based on a commitment to a healthy community and are mutually beneficial.
Seven Keys to Sustainability –Michael Soule, comments and input by John Bloom