Dear GCS Families,
I hope you were able to get outside this weekend and enjoy the warm sunshine on Saturday. We are continuing to work through this unprecedented time and make decisions based on facts and situations as they occur. This correspondence serves as a follow up to the previous letter and survey that went out to families early last week. Thank you to all who were able to respond or email with thoughtful questions and requests. The good news is that there is significant interest from families to continue with remote learning opportunities. However, there also seems to be a need for clarification on this style of learning, as well as the financial side of things.
1.) Groton Community School, Inc., is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation that serves our local community. All donations to Groton Community School are tax-exempt.
2.) When the school was mandated to close in March, we chose to retain staff and work to find opportunities that would help us continue to fulfill our mission of providing early childhood educational experiences for young children and families while we awaited reopening in early April. All families were included in these opportunities in April, and our hope was to be able to make up time lost in March by extending our school year in June.
3.) Unfortunately, the mandated closing of early childhood centers was extended further into May, and with that, came our decision to apply for a Small Business Administration (SBA) loan through the CARES Act Payroll Protection Program. This was done in conjunction with legal counsel, our auditing firm, and our Trustees. HOWEVER, the loan came with some specific parameters that dictated the timing of when these funds can be used. Because of the timing and terms of the loan and the timing of our payroll, we cannot use any of these funds toward payroll for the second half of March and the month of April. Furthermore, any PPP funds unused in the 8-week period immediately following the loan closing will not be forgiven and will have to be repaid in 2 years.
4.) While we did collect some generous donations in lieu of tuition revenue for April to help defray the loss of tuition, there was still a significant gap. In addition to lost tuition revenue, we have had a revenue loss of Extended Day income, which will continue to accrue through the end of the school year. The combination of these two variables has left a significant financial void to be absorbed by GCS. The PPP Loan will help us to cover staff salaries for the eight-week period immediately following the loan closing but, as with all businesses, we have set overhead costs to continue to pay. ALL children were included in the six weeks of virtual learning opportunities in March and April, regardless of whether families were financially able to, or chose to, make a donation.
5.) For the period of time that we have covered payroll and took a loss on tuition revenue and extended day revenue and including the receipt of the PPP loan proceeds, the school has incurred a net cash loss of in excess of $100K dollars.
6.) We have added additional time to the end of our calendar year (June 15th-24th) to make up for the period we spent introducing our remote learning program in March. It will also serve as a wonderful opportunity to provide closure to our unorthodox school year. We would love all to participate in this additional time and have a chance to say goodbye to friends, staff, and GCS!
7.) We are fully aware that remote learning from home is not equivalent to attending GCS in person. The human connection is just something that cannot be duplicated and the childcare piece, which is significant, is not possible. This approach to teaching is not perfect and requires us all to change our approach to teaching and interacting.
8.) The survey was created to explore the desire from families to continue with remote learning. Without interest and desire from our families, it would not be worth the time, energy, and the hard work of our staff.
In conclusion, it seems that continuing to explore, perfect, and interact with families is something that many families really want. Children’s minds at this time need interactive experiences, pre-reading literacy, math skills, language development, emotional connections, and so much more. We realize that this is a difficult time for many, both emotionally and financially. We also realize that remote learning may not work for some because of various and valid reasons. Some of you have reached out to me personally and others offered feedback via the survey. It is helpful to know that all families made a June tuition payment when they submitted their deposit at enrollment in a program at GCS, which can be applied toward the remote learning tuition. I invite anyone who is concerned, is experiencing a financial hardship, or has other general questions, to please reach out to me. We want to be here for YOU, and we will make it work. This is a time of unchartered waters, and all of us are doing our absolute best to regroup, think of others, and offer the best early childhood experiences possible.
With sincere gratitude,
Linda Kosinski, Director