May 5, 2011

Regents Daily News:
May 5, 2011

Fund-Raising: A Key Ministry as a Labor of Love for Our Students

Here is a post by Regents Board member Michael Kunk:

Have you ever said to yourself “Another Regents Academy fund raising project?  Enough already!!!”

Asking families who already pay tuition to participate in Regents – activities is a difficult thing to do and the Regents Board appreciates and understands the frustration continual fund raising efforts may cause Regents families.  Fund-raising is commitment to a cause.  It can be time consuming and frequently involves asking friends, family, co-workers and business associates for assistance with an entity or project they know little to nothing about, or for a cause they may not fully understand or support.  If you are like me, asking someone to participate in a fundraising event is uncomfortable at best, and at its worst, something to avoid at all costs and akin to surgery or a root canal.
That being said, “Why fund raise?”

Regents Academy has an annual budget of just under $500,000 per year.  From that, we pay our staff, fund school operating expenses and educational expenses, and service the building debt of Regents Academy.  Approximately 20% of our income is derived from fund-raising activities, which is committed in a host of special projects, purchase of costly items, student needs or used for the benefit of the school as a whole.  Without it, our limited resources would have to be stretched to include the cost of items currently paid through fund-raising programs such as playground equipment and building debt service (just to name two), further reducing the available cash to cover the daily operating costs of Regents Academy.

Did you know?  The median pay for a full-time staff member at Regents is a meager $11,000 per school year!  That’s right: $1,100 for each month school is in session.  Our staff’s dedication and sacrifice for the educational benefit of your children cannot be underestimated.  They work long hours and sacrifice time with their families to educate your child(ren) about the world our LORD has created and which we get to enjoy.  Also, many of our staff are volunteers who take no pay and continually work long hours in their respective areas – strictly out of the goodness of their hearts.  The Regents family is eternally grateful for these efforts because, as a direct result of these numerous sacrifices by so many, Regents Academy is able to keep tuition low and still provide what the board feels is the best Pre-K through 12th grade education within driving distance of Nacogdoches.

I am often times asked “What is the fair value of the COST of a Regents Academy education?”  While that is a difficult question to answer as it involves issues like grade level tuition differentials, elimination of fund raising activities/volunteerism and fair compensation,  I have a basic formula that can be applied as follows.  In a rough calculation, tuition would first have to increase 25% just to cover lost revenues from fund-raising activities.  It would have to increase another 10% to replace volunteerism at Regents and at least 30% to raise the pay for all staff a minimum standard wage of $20,000 ($2,000 for each month Regents is in session).  In this scenario, standard tuition for a child in high school would increase from approximately $4,600 to well over $8,000 annually!  Frankly, this is a tuition cost that is out of reach for most of our Regents families.

So is the answer fund-raising activities?  I would submit the answer to that question is definitely Yes.

Fund raising efforts lower the educational cost for everyone and keep our limited funds available for operating expenses and staff wages (already far below market and other local educational institutions). Volunteerism (a form of fund-raising) also helps keep costs down and allows Regents Academy to charge a fair and balanced tuition rate to all who attend.  Fund-raising also allows Regents Academy to fulfill its Christian mission by funding special discounts for families, in need due to short-term financial distress, or who otherwise could never afford a Regents Academy education.

So the next time a fund-raising event comes around, I encourage you to look at it as a labor of love for the children of Regents Academy. An opportunity to make a real difference in a child’s life who will receive the benefit of a classically trained mind.  An opportunity to serve those who sacrifice daily to educate your family to the best of their abilities.  An opportunity to serve God and glorify His name.

Fund-raising at Regents Academy is much, much more than simply raising money for Regents Academy. It is a Key Christian Ministry for the love of the students at Regents Academy and an excellent example of Christian grace, mercy, personal sacrifice and fellowship for our students.

Last, I want to be sure to extend a HUGE HEARTFELT THANK YOU on behalf of the entire Regents Academy family to all who have sacrificed and worked tirelessly for the benefit of our precious students.  Your efforts over the past 10 years are eternal and instrumental in making Regents grow into what it is today.  Your efforts have benefited hundreds of students and have NOT gone unnoticed, evidenced by the overall quality and personal character of our students and graduates.

Thank you again.  You are forever our “Unsung HEROES!”

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