Wall Street is down, but the paddles were up, up, up at an auction at Cipriani this month that raised more than $500,000 for the Trevor Day School from parents and friends, off about 15 percent from last year’s record haul.So that's New York. Is this also the case in San Francisco?
The day after the auction, Pam Clarke, Trevor’s head of school, sent out a letter reassuring parents that Trevor, a Manhattan private school with a relatively small endowment of $10.6 million, remained in “sound shape financially” because of careful spending and committed fund-raising. “We wanted to let people know that we’re concerned, we’re paying attention, and we’re careful with our resources and theirs,” Ms. Clarke said in an interview.
Dalton, Ethical Culture Fieldston, Packer Collegiate Institute and the Calhoun School have also sent out letters attesting to their financial health in recent weeks. At least three other private schools — Trinity, Columbia Grammar and Preparatory, and St. Ann’s — have issued similar letters, while other schools have relied on parent association meetings and word of mouth to get out the message that it is business as usual despite uncertain economic times.
“We’re not experiencing any signs of impact from the economic downturn,” said Steve Nelson, head of school at Calhoun, though he added, “That’s not to say that we won’t.”
Private schools across New York City say they are thriving this fall, with record numbers of applicants and no significant decline in donations. Yet almost daily, even brand-name schools are finding that they have to reassure jittery parents about shrinking endowments and dispel rumors that requests for financial aid are pouring in, and that economically squeezed families are pulling their children out and enrolling them in public schools.
Trinity’s interim head of school, Suellyn P. Scull, issued a letter taking issue with recent news reports that 45 families had given notice that they were leaving. Trinity, among the most competitive schools in the city, received 698 applications for the 60 kindergarten spots in this year’s class.
The school is not yet releasing admission numbers for next year’s class, but Ms. Scull wrote, “This year’s admissions season has been perhaps busier than usual, and to date we have had no reports of families planning to leave us.”But the shrinking economy is taking a toll on investment returns at Trinity, whose endowment has fallen to $40 million from $50 million in July, and at other private schools, affecting what they can spend on programs and activities. “There’s no way of escaping it,” said Lawrence Buttenwieser, a former trustee at Dalton. “If it happens at Harvard, it will happen to everybody.”
Sunday, November 30, 2008
Are SF private schools thriving in the downturn?
An article in The New York Times reports that private schools in Manhattan are thriving:
Labels: Private schools
Posted by Kate