School Finance 614: SAS Mythbusters 4–Goalposts, Traffic, and More

We are pleased that our previous SAS Mythbusters articles were of interest to many readers, so we now present another batch of SAS "myths" and explain the facts surrounding them. To read our previous articles, see Mythbusting at SAS, Mythbusters 2–Enrollments, Profits, and More, and Mythbusters 3–Immersion and More.

1. Does SAS ensure that our soccer goals are safe, in light of the recent fatal accident at a local school?

We were saddened to learn that a thirteen-year-old Geylang Methodist School student was fatally injured when a goalpost collapsed on him during PE class. At SAS we have soccer goals made by Vico Sport-markt and TCB Sports, two established Singaporean companies. We install and use them according to the manufacturers' instructions. Staff members also educate students never to climb on or hang from any goal, as the Geylang student may have been doing. We are currently reviewing our procedures to ensure student safety around our soccer goals. Parents can help by reminding their children never to climb on any soccer goal.

2. I am worried about the safety of the school's drinking water. Does the school treat it? Is it really as safe as bottled water?

The water at SAS is very safe to drink. Singapore's Public Utilities Board (PUB) water is among the best public drinking water worldwide and easily meets both WHO and U.S. EPA standards. SAS has 131 drinking fountains, which are cleaned and serviced monthly; all have in-line filters, which are replaced annually. Our five water-storage tanks are periodically flushed, cleaned, and sterilized, and water samples are sent to a third-party laboratory for testing. We encourage students to fill reusable bottles at our drinking fountains, most of which have bottle-filler attachments that even our youngest students can use.

We discourage bottled water because, while much more expensive, it is not necessarily better than tap water. Environmentally, the production, transportation, and disposal of plastic bottles is energy-intensive, and many end up in the environment as trash. We want to educate our students to make good choices and care for the environment. For more information about these issues, please read this Channel NewsAsia article.

3. Why do the school buses sit in traffic on campus for such a long time each morning? Can't they be scheduled to avoid this?

Adrian Yeap of Yeap Transport reports that 3,108 morning riders arrive at SAS on 102 buses, disembarking between 7:20 and 7:50 a.m. For safety and efficiency, students are only dropped off at our designated bus bays (ES, MS/HS, and ELC). 115 students alight each minute, and it takes an average of twenty-seven minutes for all students to disembark. The average bus travel time from the front gate to the ELC during the peak period of 7:25 to 7:40 a.m. is ten minutes.

Mr. Yeap notes that our disembarkation process, using three bus bays, is far more efficient than those of other schools served by the company. As students are also arriving by car, bicycle, and on foot, everyone must be prepared for some delays in reaching their destinations. We will continue to monitor our morning drop-off procedures for maximum efficiency, and we encourage all involved to remain patient as we ensure student safety throughout the process.

4. Does the school have accident insurance for students who get hurt during school activities or parents, like myself, who volunteer at school?

We assume that all parents have health insurance policies for their family members that would cover such situations. SAS does not buy insurance for on-campus accidents experienced by students, parents, or contractors. We do, however, maintain travel accident insurance to ensure that students on school trips have access to medical treatment, including emergency evacuation if necessary. While some international schools do carry insurance for on-campus accidents affecting non-staff individuals, others do not. Of those that do, some charge families separately for it, while others include it in school fees. Considering our school community, we are comfortable with our choice to leave accident coverage to families' comprehensive health insurance policies.

5. Do SAS school board members get paid?

No. All twelve current SAS parents who make up our school board do so without remuneration, as do other parent experts who serve on the various board committees. We are very grateful to all these volunteers, who are so generous with their time and expertise. They continue to uphold the traditions of volunteerism and school service that have helped SAS thrive for sixty-one years.

Thanks to those who sent in their myths and questions. We are always happy to set the record straight! We look forward to investigating more questions, speculations, and dubious SAS "facts" in future Mythbusters articles, and we welcome any finance questions or suggestions for other articles, at