Covid-19 impacts the budget on the Hill


Denise Bilotta

Supplies like these are an added expense for FSH.

Covid-19 and the economic challenges it has brought have affected private school budgets across the country. Job losses have led to reduced income for some families, which for private schools means either a decrease in enrollment revenue or an increase in financial aid.  

“We have worked with families who have gone through financial disarray to support students whose parents may have lost a job and can’t afford the tuition,” Assistant Principal for Curriculum and Instruction Mrs. Sherrie Singer said.

Here at FSH, in addition to day student families experiencing financial hardship, over 40 boarders are no longer paying room and board. 

“Those 40 or 50 students’ room and board, their tuition impacts our budget greatly, but we’ve been very committed as an institution to protecting jobs and programs,” Singer said. 

On top of revenue for the school going down, costs for the school are going up. Some of these costs include extending financial aid to families who are struggling financially. Other costs have to do with equipping the school for the return of students to a new, Covid-friendly campus environment. 

“The pandemic has created additional costs that are pretty high for the school,” Assistant Principal for Student Affairs Mrs. Rosemary Johnston said. 

Many of these new costs are related to health and safety obligations.   

“As we have been getting ready to come back to school and campus, there are all of the safety protocols: the signage, the lettering, the new health center with a special isolation room and Nurse Cathy’s equipment needed,” Johnston said. 

Once back on campus, the school will have a health center to ensure control if there are outbreaks. In classrooms, precautions are being taken with daily cleaning, even now without girls on campus yet.

“[The new expenses include] all of the plexiglass that will be installed and put in when we come back on campus and the deep cleaning of the school getting done consistently,” Johnston said.

Thanks to good planning and early action, the school has a safety net. 

“Early in the year, many of us who are budget managers made cuts to our budgets proactively so that we would not have as much money to spend, kind of like a rainy day fund,” Singer said. 

Due to this safety net, the school has been able to continue to serve its students and faculty. 

“Even though the budget might have been tight, we still have a professional development budget and were still able to make sure every teacher went through a three-week training at the end of the school year before coming back this year, so that they could be a little more consistent and uniform on how the distant learning program was implemented,” Singer said. 

Both of Singer and Johnston are very optimistic about the future of Flintridge Sacred Heart. 

“We are not closing. We are very much opening,” Johnston said.