Dear SAS Parents,

Thank you for your continued support at this time. I heard from a number of you after my last letter, and it is heartening to see our community come together during a time of such global uncertainty. At this time, we have additional information to share regarding the SAS Compassion Fund and the long-term financial state of the school. Please click here to see a video describing the origin and purpose of the SAS Compassion Fund. 

SAS Compassion Fund

As mentioned previously, we are freezing tuition and fees for the 2020–21 school year and rolling back the 3.5% increase announced last fall. We are creating a dedicated fund to meet the pressing needs caused by COVID-19 in our community, named after our core value of compassion. If your family has the ability and desire, we ask that you consider donating the 3.5% that would have been spent on next year’s tuition to the SAS Compassion Fund. Families who have acute financial needs during this difficult period will be able to reach out to our finance office to request help. We will also use money from this dedicated fund to help provide assistance to SAS faculty and staff members and their families who need support. And, to the extent we can, we will also use the Compassion Fund to respond to pressing needs within our immediate Woodlands community. 

This is not a requirement but an opportunity. The tuition freeze applies to all families. If you choose to donate your 2020–21 rebate to the SAS Compassion Fund, your donations will be eligible for US tax deductions. 

  • Parents who have already paid their tuition will receive the option to have the 3.5% difference refunded or to donate that difference to the SAS Compassion Fund. 

  • Parents who have not yet paid their tuition will receive a communication with an updated invoice that gives them the option to pay the “frozen” rate or to add in the 3.5% rollback as a donation to the SAS Compassion Fund.

  • In situations where the company pays the tuition, we will reach out to the company and ask them to consider donating the additional 3.5%.

The SAS Compassion Fund will support the following areas of the SAS community:

  • Our SAS Families

    • For families forced to quickly adapt to new realities and new financial circumstances, the impact is significant and immediate, especially those who already faced financial insecurity. The SAS Compassion Fund will offer aid to SAS families who are experiencing significant changes to their financial situation and who may not otherwise be able to continue their student’s academic journey at SAS.

  • Our Faculty and Staff 

    • Meet urgent needs and financial challenges for our faculty and support staff. 

    • Provide emotional and mental health support for faculty and staff.

  • Our Community

    • Offer financial support for the acute needs of our neighbors and social service providers in our immediate Woodlands community, which we are grateful to be a part of.

Long-Term Financial Health of the School and Campus Upgrade Plan

I also wanted to take a minute to note that, in the face of all our challenges, our long-term financial position as a school remains healthy. While we have seen a decline in the value of our reserves, that decline has been well under 10% to date. We have a diversified set of investments that has helped balance market losses in equities. It is certainly possible that we will see further declines in markets in months to come, and the school’s Investment Advisory Committee is actively monitoring this. It is important to note that, even with significant further declines in the value of our invested assets, we have more than a sufficient level of reserves to afford our planned campus upgrade.  

Our decision to freeze tuition and fee increases for next year will cost the school about $5.5 million, and we are actively looking at ways to reduce expenses to partially offset this. Likewise, other COVID-19-related expenses and refunds have already cost the school over $2 million this year, but we hope not to see all of these expenses recur next year.  

With regard to the campus upgrade, we are continuing our work with the architects and designers. We are excited to begin our work with the parent/student/teacher design advisory groups in May to gather input on our campus designs. Meanwhile, no construction has commenced yet. Other than our plans for the new short-term athletic fields west of the school, we have not even issued any bids for construction. We do hope to begin construction of the new fields later this year, as they will provide a wonderful resource for the school.  

At the end of this year or early next year, we will be in the position, according to the current schedule, to enter into construction contracts for the new elementary school building. This would be our first major construction project. At that time, we will carefully evaluate the educational, economic, and public health circumstances we are facing in deciding whether to continue to go forward. We will keep you informed about those developments and any impacts that COVID-19 may have on these plans. 

Thank you for your continued support!
 

Best,

Tom Boasberg