Hello FCMS Community!
What once was a sprint has turned into a marathon. And while our pacing has changed, and maybe even our perspective, what hasn’t changed is the fact that we are in it together. And together we will make it through. While things may not be the same for a while, or ever, relationships support our resilience. Thank you to our guides, office staff, school administrators, families, students, and community volunteers for being in it together, offering support, taking each new step forward, and facing each challenge with patience and resilience.
Before we dive into Board and school happenings, we wanted to share the minutes from previous board meetings with you.
FCMS was founded in 2013 by a small group of community members and parents in order to launch a public classic Montessori program. The undertaking was built on the vision that classic Montessori, with exceptional guides and leadership, community, and care, would develop and build community future leaders, shape education, and provide an essential education opportunity to the broader Fort Collins community. What an undertaking!
And that undertaking was only made possible by the underlying value of volunteerism, to serve others and our community.
Our future success is also dependent upon the choice to volunteer and serve at FCMS. There are several ways we, as a community, can continue to build on this dream of public Montessori education. You are invited to serve and give to our FCMS community. The options to volunteer may be more limited this season, but even small things are big things.
In terms of giving back, options include:
- Respond to PVC (Parent Volunteer Committee) asks with your time or skills. Fill out a volunteer form.
- Financial donations are a way to invest in the school community. Donate here.
- Join a committee. We are looking for parents to serve on the Fundraising committee. Contact Board member Robyn Hoxie ([email protected]).
Since our founding seven years ago, FCMS has operated on a very conservative budget for a public charter. We are a small school that does not have the benefit of an endowment. We continue to run on a very slim budget and our operating expenses must be covered by tuition for pre-K students and by the state for Kindergarten through 6th-grade students. State funding has been reduced by 5% for the 2020-2021 year, putting a strain on our school.
In April 2020, the Board voted to forgive pre-K tuition through the end of the 2019-2020 school year, as we did not have a virtual option at that time. In September 2020, the Board voted to reduce tuition for all pre-K students to the half-day rate because there was no noticeable difference between pre-K half-day and full-day virtual education. The reduction in pre-K tuition resulted in a projected revenue decrease of $60,0000 for the school for the 2020-2021 year. This decrease has caused the school to operate at a deficit this year. However, due to conservative fiscal management and past financial donations, we are able to do that by using funds from our reserves.
The Board understands that there is interest in further reductions in pre-K tuition. While we understand, it would not be fiscally responsible to offer further reductions that would compound our current projected operating loss. If your family is experiencing financial changes and you would like to explore a further discount, we do offer financial assistance to qualifying families based on a current FEDS (Federal Economic Data Survey) form in line with our chartering district. Please email [email protected] for more information.
Cultural Highlight: Positive Intent
One of the main cultural pieces of our school is to create a supportive environment for all. That is a lofty goal, but one we hold dear as we work toward our values and goals. A key practice and one you may have heard a lot this challenging season is “assuming positive intent”.
The work of assuming positive intent, or believing the best, is to listen, assume the person is trying their best, wanting to grow, or is trying to consider all the angles. The reward of assuming positive intent is our community being able to learn from each other, grow, and become better. It creates a collaborative environment, one where the problem isn’t a person, but we can tackle any problem together. We are encouraged that as we all do the work of assuming positive intent, we will be amazed at what develops in our community.
Whatever anybody says or does, assume positive intent. You will be amazed at how your whole approach to a person or problem becomes very different… You are trying to understand and listen because at your basic core you are saying, Maybe they are saying something to me that I’m not hearing. —Indra Nooyi, Chairman and CEO of PepsiCo in a 2008 Fortune interview
Thank you for being on this journey with us. We truly are better together and it is amazing to see what is being built in our community in this season—generosity, volunteerism, and a truly collaborative culture.
As always, feel free to reach out with any questions or comments you may have.
The FCMS Board
Robyn Hoxie, Parent Member, President
Brent Croft, Community Member, Vice President
Dan Rinehart, Parent Member, Treasurer
Nancy Tellez, Community Member, Secretary
Janice Spearman, Community Member