Finance at SAS

Finance at SAS is intended to promote understanding and support of school policies within our large, diverse parent community.

The articles, published every few weeks in eNews, address a range of finance-related topics, such as the school’s annual budget, financial reserves, and student demographics. “Big picture” topics are also considered, such as developments in Singapore’s international school market and differences between nonprofit and for-profit schools. All Finance at SAS articles are archived here for the convenience of the SAS community.

Finance at SAS was started in 2011 by William Scarborough, chief financial officer from 2008 to 2017, who saw a need for better communication about these matters within the SAS community. Each year’s articles are numbered sequentially, from the 100 series in 2011–12 up to the 600 series in 2016–17. In total, Finance at SAS includes nearly one hundred articles as of June 2017.

Chief Operations Officer Matthew Rogers will continue with the 700 series in 2017–18, and welcomes comments, questions, and suggestions for future articles at

Date Range

Singapore American School has a spacious green campus, top-notch facilities, and excellent educational resources. But our greatest asset has always been our teachers. This week, we explore the demographics of these professionals, who focus their energy, enthusiasm, and expertise on educating your children.

SAS parents are often amazed at the diversity of their children's classmates. This year, our community includes students from over 60 different nations. In part one of our annual student demographics article, we explore the 2017–18 particulars of our always-evolving SAS community.

As we finish our fifth week of the 2017–18 school year, we are pleased to present an update about enrollment numbers, new staff, and summer facilities projects.

The start of the summer holidays means the start of the busiest time of year for our facilities team. Over the sixty-one work days (including Sundays) of the 2017 summer break, eighty-one different projects will be completed across the divisions.

For many years, SAS has maintained financial reserves with the goal of ensuring our long-term stability and continued success. In the last year, the school board has reviewed how we organize, allocate, and invest these savings, and has combined them into a single pool called the endowment.

For parents, re-enrollment represents a renewal of your commitment to SAS for the following year, and completing the process guarantees your children seats at the school.

We have several priorities in deciding how to allocate the school's money. On the one hand, we strive to provide an excellent education that develops in every student the skills, knowledge, and character needed to thrive in the 21st century.

SAS has a total of 375 full-time equivalent teachers this year, not including instructional assistants and administrators. Their average age is around 45 years, similar to what it has been for the last eight years.

In the last two decades, educational options for foreign students in Singapore have expanded significantly. SAS, one of Singapore's original international schools and still one of few non-profit private schools here, continues to be among the most respected institutions for expatriate students. However, the changing educational landscape has implications for us.

For most SAS parents, the diversity of our student population is one of the best things about an SAS education. This year's SAS community includes students from 62 countries, all learning with and from each other.

As we come to the end of our fourth week of school, we hope that all students are well on their way to making new friends, settling into routines, and becoming comfortable in classes, divisions, and activities.

Welcome back from summer break, and to our new families, welcome to SAS! Finance@SAS is the school's finance column, written with the goal of enhancing our community's understanding of the financial, operations, and investment decisions made by the school administration.

As we reach the end of another year, we thank you for reading our school finance articles. We hope that giving our large, diverse community regular updates about the school's financial decisions helps to promote parents' understanding and support of school policies.

During the 57 days (including Sundays) of the 2016 summer vacation, 99 different projects will be tackled, involving an average of 80 contractors and 15 construction vehicles daily.

What do you wonder about SAS? Our finance articles cover a variety of topics, from school demographics to the financial effects of haze, but we know there are topics our readers would find interesting that we haven't even considered.

This week, we are pleased to share with you the myths that parents wrote to us about, as well as myths we have overheard or seen on social media. We have selected those that would be most interesting to current SAS families; please look out for a future Mythbusters series that will address rumors commonly traded by families less familiar with our school.

With the 2016-17 budget now available, we would like to give it some perspective by explaining our priorities in managing the funds entrusted to us by our students' parents. Singapore American School is a member-supported school, and all parents are members.

Singapore American School has a beautiful green campus, state-of-the-art facilities, and widespread access to media and technology. But our most important asset has always been our teachers.

This report profiles the school's community involvement during calendar year 2014. We hope it will help SAS students, parents, and staff to better understand SAS's impact on the world outside its gates, and will promote good relations with local and national policymakers, business groups, and other interested parties.

Indoor recess, closed cafeteria windows, and guards wearing face masks: these are all obvious indications that life changes when the haze descends. Thankfully, the air seems to be clearing; but as Singapore has dealt with the region's worst haze episode since the late 1990s, we at SAS have also had to alter activities and re-organize events in order to keep students and staff safe and comfortable.

Eighty percent of Singapore American School students arrive at school each morning riding on one of Yeap Transport's buses. With 3,154 student riders, 129 buses, and 253 regularly scheduled daily trips this year, the bus company must balance operating efficiency with the safety and comfort mandated by our contract.

Most SAS students are living in Singapore because a parent's job brought them here. This year, 65 percent of our students have parents working in one of five sectors: finance (24 percent), manufacturing (17 percent), information, communication and technology (10 percent), oil, gas, and energy (7 percent), and consumer goods (7 percent).

At Singapore American School, children from different backgrounds learn and socialize together, and their diversity is part of what makes the school special. This year's SAS community includes students from 49 countries, all seeking "an exemplary American educational experience with an international perspective."

Every February, SAS high school students spend one week learning about the world and themselves through experiences beyond the classroom. Interim Semester is one of the year's highlights for our ninth through twelfth graders. With course selection just around the corner, this week we explain the history, philosophy, and financial implications of Interim Semester.
Stepping onto the SAS campus in August is exciting for students, parents, and staff alike. Old-timers wonder what campus changes they will see, and which friends and teachers have returned. New families find their way around, make friends, and settle into routines. Now that we are well into the first semester, we would like to update you on the community and campus.
Welcome back from summer break, and a special welcome to those families new to SAS! For the past four years, the school leadership has published a finance column in the SAS eNews with the goal of maintaining open communication about the financial, operations, and investment decisions made by the school administration.

At this time of year, it always feels like far too many friends and classmates are leaving. According to the admissions office, 705 students had withdrawn by the end of April, including our 297 departing seniors, the largest ever SAS senior class.

The 2014-15 school year has seen SAS take important strides toward more healthy, efficient, and enjoyable food experiences. Read on to find out how these improvements will continue next year, the new prices for ECC/ES set lunches, and some changes to high school students' dining options that will take place over the break.
Each June the SAS facilities team rolls up its sleeves to improve and repair the spaces and equipment used daily during the school year. Summer projects are typically those that would cause disruption for students and teachers. In addition to our usual maintenance projects, this year we have some exciting renovations planned. Read on to find out more. (This post has been updated to remove outdated maps.)
Starting with one cart of Macintosh computers in the business office of the King's Road campus, our technology program has developed over three decades of evolution and improvement. Now nearly every SAS student has his or her own device, and technology is integrated into classes school-wide. Read on to find out how all this technology is organized and paid for.
If you have ever joined your elementary or middle school student for lunch, you may have noticed our lunch supervisors greeting children, encouraging positive socializing, and keeping an eye on dining behavior. Also known as the
In keeping with our community-centered history, our non-profit status, and our core values, we at SAS seek to make the school a "business with a heart," that is, a responsible steward of parents' resources that still responds with sensitivity and humanity to specific circumstances. How do we do this? Read on to find out how we balance fiscal responsibility with a "culture of extraordinary care" that considers student needs and family concerns.
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