CSPA Provisions

By: Neil Mufson
Some of what our Parents Association provides for our children may be in danger of disappearing next year. The reality is that each year the CSPA raises about $150,000 that it uses to provide many hallmarks of a child’s TCS experience: field trips, outdoor eduction trips, opening day supply packets, the school’s athletic program, assemblies, the Holiday Breakfast, and the list goes on. 
This year, the CSPA’s initial fundraising yields are significantly off. Participation in— and profit for — the rummage, gift wrap, and wreath sales are all down. Registrations and sponsorships for November 15’s Sporting Clay Classic event are sluggish. Unless the auction makes up in a huge way for these declines (a simpler event was being planned), we will be faced with three choices or some combination thereof: 
        • eliminating some of these experiences;
        • charging all families a fee for some or all of these experiences as virtually every other school does;
        • wrapping some or all of these costs into tuition. 
How much would that cost per child? About $550.
As some have suggested, I don’t think this decline is because of the capital campaign. After all, only about 30% of families participated in the campaign from which all families are benefitting. One hundred percent of our faculty, staff, and trustees gave to the campaign and the Annual Fund. 
I don’t think it is because of the annual fund, because while about 85% of our families participated in last year’s annual fund, contributing about $181,367, the rest of the approximately $325,000 raised was contributed by others.
The large percentage of the capital campaign and annual fund totals that were donated by what I call “legacy donors,”past parents and friends of the school, speaks well for how past families value their TCS experience. They have been willing to participate generously in part because they felt they wanted to pay forward what others had made possible for their families.
I would welcome your contacting me at so I can have the benefit of your ideas on what is driving the current apathy and what you see as solutions for the future.  
Independent education is costly, no doubt. Quality programs and personnel are expensive. And, as you should know, our tuition is some 40% below the mean for similar grades with similar levels of quality in our region.  
However, the only programs and experiences we can provide for our kids are those which the families receiving the benefit are willing to underwrite. I appreciate and welcome your help in interpreting the current trend. 

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