The financial stability threshold varies between 920 and 980 registered pupils according to budgets.
In practical terms, 855 pupils are registered for this school year. This is a pretty moderate 5% increase of the student body and doesn’t bode much for the future, especially with other international schools in a comparably dire situation, and the « international » student recruiting strategy turning out to have very limited effect. The new LFIT campus in Takinogawa has a capacity of 1,500 pupils and even though the two former sites were relocated to this single campus, no economies of scales have been achieved yet.
In the current pessimistic economic context, the decision to proceed with the planned school fees hike of 3% (for next year) now looks questionable.
In addition to that, the « overall school bill » has seen veiled increases from other external sources: hike of extra-curricular activities fee (which is often used as an after-school day care, especially by families where both parents work), transportation fees (school bus fees of 320,000 JPY a year per child), and a freeze on the « large family » rebate plan since 2005. The only exception to the general price hike is a 5% cut on school lunch fees.
The AF-fcpe has always fought for a school that is accessible to all – and opposes these hikes. We also believe that other solutions must be found so as not base financial stability solely on long-term school fee hikes. Maintaining financial stability requires a tight control and adjustment of operational expenses above else, accounting for the reduced number of pupils (compared to 2008 for example) and also the longer-term perspective.
To reach this stability the school has to come up with a realistic spending-cut plan. And even though austerity is part of the picture, it is absolutely feasible to cut spending in a way that compromise neither the quality of life at school nor the quality of teaching.
Even though the number of registered pupils has largely decreased (from over 1000 pupils since March 2011), the « General account » and « Special account » sections of the 2012 budget are only slightly impacted by this decrease. In this same 2012 budget, the « Administrative Personnel Payroll account » sees a slight increase.
It has now become imperative to look ahead and devise a budget that fits both the economical constraints and the evolution prospects while taking into account the actual cost for each family. As far as numbers go, increasing the school fee by 3% would amount for a total 27 millions JPY additional income, which is less than 1.4% savings on the whole 2012 budget of the school. And probably less, with respect to the student population increase.
As soon as the next board of administration meeting, we will oppose the hike on school fees for school year 2013-14. We would like every savings opportunity to be thoroughly studied and a new SAVINGS PLAN to be drawn up, that would be implemented starting this year, and for a duration of 3 years.
publié le 3 octobre 2012