January 13, 2012
Reenrollment is upon us again. During the past year, we have experienced numerous positive changes throughout our school. Under the leadership of our Headmaster, Chris Charles, we have witnessed rekindled excitement from our extraordinary students to our faculty and staff. The reestablishment of Christian-based education in addition to a rigorous and relevant curriculum ensures that our students are ready to surmount the challenges that they will face in the future. As we closed 2011, terms of agreement were reached between the Boards of Redeemer Episcopal Academy and Gatewood to merge as Gatewood Schools. Combining these two great institutions as one enables our school to quickly access and improve curriculum and educational offerings while continuing to grow our school for the future. God has blessed Gatewood Schools because we seek His will for our children in all aspects of our school. We thank you for your daily prayers for all involved in the education of our children.
The proposed operational budget was presented to the Board at its December meeting, and after thoughtful and difficult discussion, the Board established an annual tuition increase of only $240 per child ($20/month or about 4%). While the operational requirements require a much larger tuition to cover costs, the Board felt a modest increase together with expanding the new student referral program, promoting the use of financial assistance and scholarships, as well as improving communications on the importance of annual giving will all help improve the number of students returning as well as the amount of revenue available for operations.
Anticipated enrollment tuition will account for approximately 88% of our actual operating costs for the next school year. We rely on other mechanisms for the additional revenue necessary to balance the budget; the most important of which is your tax deductible contributions to the annual giving fund. As before, we ask that families make a commitment to annual giving with their re-enrollment application so that the administration can confidently make staffing decisions for next year. We recognize that some improvements need to be made, but we do not feel comfortable making those decisions without knowing that we have the commitment from our families to support those decisions. While we do not want to undermine the completion of this year’s annual giving campaign which is still short of our needs and expectations, we ask you to go ahead and let us know your plans for this year as well as next year. We also request you begin making monthly payments along with your tuition payment.
If you have more than one student and can afford to pay full tuition for each of your children, please consider doing so. The difference between the discounted amount and the full tuition amount is tax deductible, as are any other donations to the annual giving fund. We trust that each family will join us in supporting the annual giving effort as we seek to reach 100% family participation for this year while committing to mirror that performance next year.
Enrollment is vital to the health and vitality of our school. The best advocates for Gatewood are you, our families. So in an attempt to help the school grow enrollment and help our loyal families, the Board is continuing the new family referral fee program. Help the school increase its enrollment and the school will provide you with a credit to your tuition account. A referral form is enclosed for your convenience. This program and credit is available at any time if you can successfully convince a qualified student to join the Gatewood family. The marketing committee is working to improve the recruitment handouts and tools available to help in this cause.
The GOAL Scholarship Program has been in effect at Gatewood for 4 years now and participation has grown each year. Last year, the Department of Revenue cap of $50 million dollars was met on November 7, 2011. The cap is expected to be met much earlier for the 2012 tax year as more Georgians learn of the significant tax advantages of the program. We need parents who plan to participate to begin making their donations in the first quarter of the 2012 tax season to ensure that they are able to receive full tax credit for 2012. Now is the time to adjust your quarterly tax payments and/or adjust your withholding to the state so that you do not have to wait for your state tax refund to get your money back.
The schools in metro-Atlanta are well organized in raising money through this program – some individual schools have collected over $1 million per year through Georgia GOAL. Our challenge at Gatewood is to grow our funds so that we will be able to provide assistance to new students who may qualify while continuing to support those who are already receiving funds if a need still exists. If we raise more than is required to award to new and existing recipients, money is maintained in our GOAL account for subsequent year awards. The more Georgia GOAL dollars we raise, the more general scholarship dollars we will have for students who are not eligible for Georgia GOAL.
We recognize that we are all enduring tough financial times. Should your family find yourself in a situation where you are considering leaving Gatewood Schools due to financial strain, we request that you talk to our Headmaster or Director of Admissions before making a move. We encourage you to apply for financial aid if required because we know that you want the best education for your child(ren), and Gatewood Schools is where they need to be for their education and personal growth. Again, please apply for financial assistance before you decide to leave Gatewood due to these changes.
Enclosed you will find your re-enrollment contract, the 2012-13 tuition and fee schedule, a new family referral form and an informational sheet regarding financial aid. Please return your re-enrollment contract by February 1, 2012. Re-enrollment contracts received after February 1, 2012 must be accompanied by a mandatory $250 late fee per student. If you are applying for financial assistance please fill out the contract and return it with the “financial aid contingency” checked to avoid late fees. Should you have questions regarding tuition, fees, or financial aid information, contact Cristi Sheppard, Director of Admissions at 706.485.8231, ext 13.
We extend our sincerest thanks for your confidence in Gatewood Schools. We will continue to serve you and your children to the very best of our ability.
The Gatewood Board of Directors