Tuition Rate Increase? Part 2

Last time, I presented a challenge that each of us can have a hand in solving.  The most critical need we have at Maranatha from a sustainability point of view is to reverse the declining enrollment trend.  Let me state it this way, if nothing were to change in our forecast from today(we are praying and working to change that forecast), we would start the next year with 440 students (down from the end of last year at 505).  Doing the math, that is a loss of over $340,000 in revenue.  Forget the finances, that is 65 fewer students we are impacting for the kingdom.  65 fewer students that add to the richness of the experience of what Maranatha is.  That is my motivation for giving you tangible incentive to help us with our word-of-mouth marketing which research shows is the most effective means of marketing for Christian schools.

Our commitment to you is to be diligently seeking to have a school that you can proudly recommend and support.  We are seeking donors to help us fund improvements to our academics, technology, staffing, facilities and culture.  We are working hard to provide tools for you to help us connect to other families and implementing a strong marketing plan to increase awareness of Maranatha in our community as I shared in a previous blog post.  I am optimistic and excited about what the Lord is already doing through the teacher’s commitment and desire to be all they can be, through the heart of those in our family who are willing to provide gifts to jump-start our work and through the partnering of many of the families to make Maranatha all it can be for our Lord.  Let’s keep up the good work, and I am confidant our Lord will bless His ministry.

So, as you are out there diligently doing your part in promoting Maranatha, who should you be looking for?  We are a discipleship school which means, there are standards for entrance that seek to admit those of like faith:

* Parents should be in agreement with our basic objectives and willingly and actively support our educational program.

* The student must be living with at least one parent who is a born-again Christian and committed to a local church as demonstrated by his/her consistent attendance.

* The student must have a sincere desire for a Christian education, and be willing to submit to the standards and regulations of the school.

* The applicant’s entering record of behavior in his home, community, school, and church must indicate that Maranatha Academy can be reasonably sure that the applicant’s citizenship will be acceptable.

* Applicants entering grades 5-12 must attest to a definite born-again experience and give evidence of a daily relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.

* A student transferring from another school must be in good academic standing. Should the student’s accomplishments be below grade level as evidenced by recent grade reports and/or standardized achievement test scores, the student may be admitted on a probationary basis, or placed in a lower grade better suited for the student’s achievement.

* All students must be enrolled in a minimum of four classes at campus to be considered a full-time student.

Thank you for praying, serving, giving and connecting our school to other families.  You are a blessing!

Tuition Rate Increase?

You will be receiving the following letter this week.

Maranatha Family,

Thank you so much for allowing us to partner with you in the education of your children.  Rise Up Maranatha is in full swing, and we are excited with what God is doing in and through the hearts, hands and lives of our Family.  Optimism abounds for what God has in store for the school.

As we prepare the budget for next year, we anticipate that there will be a tuition increase due to salary needs and increasing costs of doing business as there have been in each previous year (avg 3.5% increases).  We realize that for some of our families, tuition payments consistently present a faith and financial challenge.  However, for the Christian family in today’s decaying moral culture, we continue to strongly believe that Christian education is not only essential but possibly the most valuable investment that we can make for our children. So to help make things a little easier, I am offering you the opportunity to…

Help Us Lower Tuition Costs

The school leadership, faculty and staff are diligently, energetically promoting our school (See Superintendent blog post: We Don’t Want to Be a Secret! for details), but we need your help! That is why I am offering this deal to all parents: For every 12 net new students that are enrolled in Maranatha by July 15th, I will reduce the tuition rate increase for the whole school by a percentage point (i.e. go from 4% to 3%).   Yes, I will even make the year over year cost less for the whole school (see chart) if we collectively have enough net (new students minus students who leave) students to make the math work.

Note: tuition increase is for example purposes only

Increase

Net New Students

Monthly HS Tuition

4%

0

$720 x 104% = $749

3%

12

$720 x 103% = $742

2%

24

$720 x 102% = $734

1%

36

$720 x 101% = $727

0%

48

$720

-1%

60

$720   x 99% = $713

What   Can You Do?

What   Tools Will Help You?

1)      Keep your kids at Maranatha 10   Reasons to Enroll at Maranatha brochure
2)      Connect other families to Maranatha Invite   new families to Discover Maranatha on March 6th (see postcard)

*Contact the school to get additional copies of this handout or other pamphlets, cards, etc. that will help you in your conversations.

Thanks again for being an integral and vital member of the Maranatha family.  It is an awesome responsibility to partner with you to raise up a God-fearing generation. God bless you and please keep Maranatha in your prayers.

We Don’t Want to Be a Secret!

Over the years, we have invested a lot of time and resources in a lot of mediums to tell the world about Maranatha.  However, we keep running into Christians that have not heard of us let alone about us.  So we are freshening up some old tactics, trying some new ones, and investing in some marketing expertise to help us remove the title of the “Best Kept Secret in Shawnee”.

We would like to be the best, and that absolutely must be part of the equation as we get the word out.  We must be the best at what we do.  I will be sharing over the coming weeks in blog posts and Family events, the steps we will be taking to make us even better than we are today.  In fact, I have shared the overall plan with our Board and our faculty and staff.  So come back often to learn more.

Another essential piece to effectively remove the label of Secret is how we put our “brand” in the marketplace.  So here are some things we are doing:

  • We have a new marketing theme that will provide the anchor and consistency for all our messaging.  You can see it on our new billboard on Shawnee Mission Parkway on the west side of I-35.
  • We have eliminated all of our Visitor Days and will point all of our marketing efforts towards a one evening event called Discover Maranatha on March 6th where we will have all of our faculty and staff win over any prospective parents and affirm new families.
  • We will be marketing on the radio: Bott, KLJC and KLOVE
  • We will be placing ads in the Shawnee Dispatch and their other local community papers as well as their website
  • We are increasing our investment in internet search engines.  So when you Google a term like “private schools kansas city”, Maranatha shows up on the first page of results.
  • We are exploring relationships with national firms who have a proven success record in helping schools increase enrollment through marketing and school evaluations
  • We are investing resources in optimizing our website to truly represent our school’s culture and success to make sure we are attractive to all who visit
  • We are developing plans to incent, engage and motivate our whole Maranatha Family in increasing our word-of-mouth efforts.  You will be receiving a letter soon that will provide one significant incentive to all families.

Growing the number of students in our school is an urgent and important matter for all of us.  I hope you will be a part of that growth in at least two ways: 1) keep your students here and 2) help us connect with other Christian families who would like Maranatha to partner with them in preparing their children for life and service to our Lord.

I hope that as you hear the plans we have for Rise Up Maranatha, you will be excited to be a part of the growth and not only be here and join in the promotion of the school, but you will help us with specific insight that will allow us to tackle issues early and head on.  We want Maranatha to be all it can be and that takes all of us doing our part.

God’s Sovereignty

How can something be both unsettling and comforting at the same time?  When I think of God’s sovereignty, I have to confess I often feel both of these emotions.  When troubling things happen at school, I become concerned for those involved and the potential negative impacts on their lives.  I am concerned for the school and its effectiveness.  However, when I pause to pray about the situation, I find comfort in knowing God was not surprised by these events, and, although we may never understand why, He is accomplishing his purposes.

My wife and I were driving north on I-35 and approaching Shawnee Mission Parkway.  All of the sudden the lane to my left stopped.  A full size red, Ford pickup truck was caught off guard and locked up the brakes.  It began swerving to the left and realized it was going to hit a car, so the driver swung back to the right, and lost control.  It passed right in front of our car, completed a 180 degree spin and stopped right next to the concrete wall on that runs parallel to the exit ramp.  Fortunately I had seen it start to develop and had begun braking.  If not, we would have slammed into the side of the truck as it swerved in front of us.  As we continued on, we saw no reason for the braking and no one got hurt.  Why did God allow that?  One thought struck me.  What a great portrayal of God’s sovereignty and my responsibility!  He knew all of those events would happen, but He still allowed me to make the decision to brake.

As we think about Maranatha and God’s ministry here.  We can rest assured that no matter what happens, His plans will not be thwarted.  However, He also requires us to be diligent and invested in this ministry to make it all it can be.  Are you doing your part?

  • Ar e you involved in Rise Up and Pray on a daily basis?
  • Are you ensuring your kids are maximizing their experience at Maranatha?  Participate, learn, connect, lead, etc.
  • Are you giving to the Lord’s work here?  time and resources
  • Are you talking with teachers and leaders on how to best partner to prepare your child for life and service to our Lord?
  • Are you trusting the Lord’s sovereignty no matter the circumstances?

Welcome to the New Year and to a new semester.  I am excited and optimistic for all that God will do through Maranatha.