I asked Attorney Sara Goldsmith Schwartz, whose "practice is focused on the critical issues facing school administrators and leadership," to answer my questions and provide some general guidance regarding best practices for enrollment agreements. This article is intended for the information of owners, administrators, and trustees of small to medium size private schools. ~ Rob Kennedy
The relationship between parents, students and the school is determined by contract law. Can you tell us what that means?
The relationship between parents, students, and the school is based on a lot of documents, including the student/parent handbook, the code of conduct, the enrollment agreement and more. The enrollment agreement, however, is the only legal contract, and it memorializes the relationship between the parents, students, and the school, binding the parties to the terms and conditions laid out in the agreement. The agreement assists schools in collecting tuition and fees in cases of non-payment and in assessing late fees in cases of late payment. However, a comprehensive agreement addresses far more than tuition and fees.
This short clip explains why contracts are important legal documents.
How can a professionally written enrollment agreement prevent litigation in the future?
A properly drafted enrollment agreement is a cornerstone of a school’s risk management strategy. For instance, it can help deter parents from bringing claims against the school, as well as help the school prevail on such claims.
An enrollment agreement that comports with best practices and applicable
Editor's Note: I asked John Gulla, the Executive Director of the E.E. Ford Foundation to answer some questions about the Foundation's work specifically, and independent school philanthropy in general. I am grateful to him for his thoughtful responses. Rob Kennedy
JG: One does not have to read Thomas Piketty's Capital in the 21st Century, though I do strongly recommend it, to understand the challenges of late-stage capitalism and the concentration of wealth. Half of the world's wealth is now controlled by less than 1% of the population. Put another way, the wealth of the top 1% equals the wealth of the other 99%. Viewed slightly differently, fewer than 100 individuals own as much as the poorest half of the world's population. This is not the place for a discussion of how this has come about or the challenges it represents, but I think that the data provide a prima facie case for the increasing role of Private Foundations in the years ahead.
RK: What was Edward E. Ford hoping to accomplish by establishing his foundation?
JG: The current mission of the Foundation is to "strengthen and support independent secondary schools and to challenge and inspire them to leverage their unique talents, expertise and resources to advance teaching and learning throughout this country by supporting and disseminating best practice, by supporting efforts to develop and implement models of sustainability, and by