Over the past few days I have received several phone calls, texts and emails from parents reaching out to assist, requesting information, and expressing concern for the staff. I appreciate your help in providing direct links to resources and some offers to continue paying tuition if needed to keep the school running.
The biggest take-away from these conversations is that most of you are concerned about retaining staff, making sure staff are compensated properly during the closure, and a few parents were upset that I asked staff to file for Unemployment Benefits effective on April 1. I arrived at this decision when I realized that we would be facing a shut down that could possibly endure for an extended period of time. The situation warranted a quick decision to guarantee that our employees would have continued income. Unemployment Benefits are an immediate source of income available to all employees funded with employer contributions. My obligation to parents is to keep the business viable, and by removing the payroll expense I am going to use the portion of the April tuition (not used to pay the April 1 payroll) to cover other operational expenses for the possible couple month closure. This strategy will hopefully eliminate the need to bill parents until we re-open. In essence, this decision helps to ensure we have a school to come back to.
Requesting the staff collect UI has resulted in a good outcome based on the passing of the CARES Act. The Act provides an estimated $260 billion in enhanced and expanded unemployment insurance (UI) to millions of workers throughout the country who are being furloughed, laid off, or finding themselves without work through no fault of their own because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The CARES Act temporarily supplements Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefit amounts and extends the duration of those benefits.
From the date the bill is signed through July 31, 2020, all regular UI claimants will receive their usual calculated benefit plus an additional $600 per week in compensation.
The bill also extends the maximum number of weeks of regular UI benefits. For those eligible for regular UI, the bill allows states to provide an additional 13 weeks of federally funded extended benefit, though I hope that we will not be closed for this duration.
Additionally, I am also exploring the use of the Paycheck Protection Act with our banking liaison and how the program could benefit the school.This program was just approved on Wednesday. It is going to be at least a couple of weeks before the bank has access to the funds and can discuss specifics and how the Plan applies in our situation. The Paycheck Protection Program is an extension of the Small Business Administration 7(a) program. SBA needs to make up the exact rules and then the rules have to be implemented by the 1,800 banks that are part of the program.
The next take away was that some parents have expressed concern about the school being able to weather this situation. My answer to you is that we have been through difficult situations previously ( 2010 fire and explosion) and continued to thrive. We have the support of the community, staff, and our financial institution.
Moving forward I will not be able to communicate with everyone individually. You're welcome to submit questions, information, or resources through email then I will address on a weekly basis via the blog. I need to focus all of my energy into dealing with the immediate needs of the school and working full time in my LLNL job. I need parents to trust that I will make wise decisions to ensure the longevity of the school, take care of the staff, and ask for help from parents if needed. Please look for weekly blog updates on Sunday or Monday.
Take care and stay healthy!