Dear LWGMS community,
As you know, the number one priority at Lake Washington Girls Middle School is to empower girls to be strong in mind, body, and voice. Our mission informs the curriculum across all disciplines; guides our talented faculty who work tirelessly to integrate it into all facets of the school program; nurtures a collaborative spirit within the community; and fosters relationships that lead to meaningful learning.
We understand that the decision to give your daughter an L-Dub education during the important middle school years inherently brings a financial commitment. We know that many of you are making great sacrifices to send your children here, and we appreciate that you recognize that a Lake Washington Girls Middle School education is a gift to your daughter.
With that in mind, the Board of Trustees has spent many hours analyzing projected costs and deliberating over how we will meet them, honoring our commitment to our current families and our responsibility to sustain the school for the future. We want to share with you some of the dilemmas we encountered.
As we are sure you can imagine, personnel and our physical space are our two of our biggest budget line items. Since 2007, we have been fortunate to lease this facility at less than market rate. We all know it could use some work, but we are happy in this building, and we are actively negotiating a long-term lease with the parish. If that lease comes to fruition, it will result in a significant rent increase. In addition to the realities of the real estate market, which will drive up our rent upon our renewal in 2018, there is deferred maintenance that must happen and must be paid for. If we are unable to move forward with a long-term lease, it will be time for us to look for a new home for the school. Either scenario will be expensive.
The realities of the economy reach beyond real estate. Our faculty and staff make far less — in some cases, half the salary — than their counterparts at other independent schools or public schools. This is not sustainable. The strategic plan developed by our Board of Trustees guides us to raise salaries over the next five years so that our teachers can continue to work here, earning a wage that reflects their experience, education, and commitment to the mission. We know that without our stellar faculty and staff, LWGMS students would not receive the exceptional middle school education our teachers are committed to providing.
To that end, the Board has approved a tuition increase for 2016-2017, which will bring tuition to $19,222.
We know this increase will be difficult for some families. If the additional cost of tuition is going to stretch your family, we strongly encourage you to apply for financial aid. We will make every effort to meet the needs of returning families. Enrollment packets will go out in January, and financial aid applications are available now on our website.
We can imagine that you have — or will have — questions and concerns. Please join members of the Finance Committee, the Board of Trustees, the Fuerza Family Association, staff, and faculty for a Community Conversation on December 8 at 7p. At that event, we can answer questions and hear your perspective. You can also submit your question here; questions will be compiled into a Frequently Asked Questions document and shared with the parent community. And if you would prefer to discuss any of your questions privately, please contact one of us, or you can contact any Fuerza Family Association representative (Michael Cruz, Laura Rodde, Nolana Newton, Anne Gienapp, Kate Ross, and Katy Hall) at FFA@lwgms.org.
L-Dub is a special place, and we don’t want to change a thing. Each family is important to the whole community, and we don’t want to cause anyone hardship or stress. But the school’s costs are increasing, and we need to increase revenues. We want L-Dub to stay strong for each current family and for the future.
With warm regards,