by Kelly Lee
Many concerns regarding Chadwick’s use of its finances have been circulating through the school. The Mainsheet conducted interviews with Chief Financial Officer Troy Grande to get his perspective on these issues.
Concern #1: Has financial aid money been shifted to other uses?
According to Grande, it is true that financial aid was not given out to any new students. It is also true that many accepted students had to ignore their acceptance letters due to their unfortunate economic situation.
Then where is Chadwick’s financial aid money? According to Grande, that money wasn’t shifted to other uses; it was given to the currently enrolled Chadwick students.
Due to the economic downturn since 2008, there was an increasing demand for financial aid from both applying students and enrolled students. In other words, families who did not request financial aid for last school year needed the help from Chadwick this year.
“We wanted to protect the existing students and support the community,” said Grande. “We didn’t want to abandon any students that have been with us since their years in the Village. For example, if one student has been attending Chadwick since kindergarten, and his family didn’t need financial aid until now, the school wants to make sure that student is able to continue their education here.”
Chadwick had no desire to keep out new students, for the accepted students would have undoubtedly benefitted the Chadwick community, Grande said. However, this year financial aid to returning students took priority over financial aid to new students.
Concern #2: How was Chadwick able to afford the recent physical improvements to the campus and its facilities?
Two of the major changes this year were the new computers installed in the Big Mac Lab and the new deck near the swimming pool that is still under construction.
Many question these costly decisions. Acccording to Grande, however, these upgrades were not funded through Chadwick’s regular budget. Rather, the Chadwick Parents Association (CPA) mostly funded these two changes. The CPA funded seventy percent of the cost for the computers, and they also helped to pay the construction fee for the new waiting area in the pool parking lot.
Grande said, “We would like to ultimately partner with them [the CPA] to deliver a better educational system and to provide more benefits to the students’ life here at Chadwick.”
Concern #3: Is Chadwick too much of a spendthrift?
According to Grande, Chadwick has an economical capital plan. The money set aside in the capital plan is to improve the educational buildings and spaces on campus.
However, Grande said, one has to consider the fact that not everything on campus comes up for improvement or replacement at once.
For example, last summer, the water heater and water storage tank by the gym was replaced after twenty-five years of use. Therefore, there is no need to save money for the water tank for another twenty-five years or so.
The science labs were also renovated in order to create a more user-friendly environment.
Grande said, “After many years of utilizing the labs, the school thought this was a good time to revamp the labs for a better educational space.”
Furthermore, to cope with losses caused by the recent downturn in the U.S. economy, the school has made two pragmatic decisions, according to Grande.
The first was to temporarily reduce increases in faculty salaries. In the years 2004-2008, these salaries rose between five and eight percent each year. For the 2009-2010 year, faculty received no increase, and for 2010-2011, the increase was two and a half percent.
Second, the school used to replace teacher computers every three years, but now the new policy is replacement at five years. Of course, if a specific class requires a new computer system for a more complex program, the teacher can be given a newer model.
According to Grande, the school is doing everything it can to be practical and strategic in its allocation of the school’s funds. “We want all of these changes to benefit more than just the current generation of the students,” he said.