As a public school, ISM cannot and does not charge tuition; however, we can and do ask our families for financial contributions. We receive only basic funding from the State of California. The ISM Foundation—a nonprofit organization of ISM parents and other supporters operating independently from the school for the sole purpose of supporting the school—augments our funding through its annual Family Share campaign.
What's the Family Share?
As the name implies, the ISM Foundation asks all families for voluntary contributions to cover the gap between what the state provides and the additional costs of the value-add programs that set us apart from other public schools. That gap is $1,800. The goal is for all ISM families to participate and make contributing to their children’s education top priority. The level of contribution is expected to vary by the financial circumstances of each family; however, we ask that every family contribute as generously as possible. In other words, the Family Share is $1,800 per student or the maximum amount that the family can afford to contribute toward education.
Isn't that a lot?
Yes it is. But it's worth it! Compared to the $18,000+ pricetag typical for other international schools around the world, which are typically private schools, or to the amount families pay for daycare before their children get into ISM, it's a deal! Families have found several ways to make giving the full amount work...
For just a $150 gift per month, ISM students get a world-class education that will pay dividends for a lifetime! That's $10 per school day for seven hours of supervision, personalized teaching and advising from multiple professional educators, and 180 playdates with multiple friends. Beat that deal!
Involve the Whole Family
In addition to parents and guardians, grandparents and other extended family members often contribute toward the Family Share. They are usually very pleased to help you provide the best for your children. We've even seen some employers step in to contribute!
Some families have gone through their spending to identify amounts they can redirect toward the Family Share. For example, one parent reported cutting out a few Starbucks runs in favor of home-brewed coffee to free up a few dollars per day. Another family sat down with their cable and wireless bills and figured out how to reduce costs while keeping what they really needed, and then directed the significant savings to ISM as a monthly online contribution. Yet another cut dinners out in half.
Do we have to participate?
No. But your participation is critical! Only through the broad and enthusiastic giving of the vast majority of ISM families have we been able to put together our amazing educational program. Sustaining that giving is critical to retaining everything we have worked together to build here at ISM.
Knowing that not every family can give, and that many cannot afford the full $1,800, the school administration and board of trustees work diligently to secure grants and donations from outside foundations, corporations, and individual donors. Family participation directly impacts our chances of getting these external grants and gifts, as many donors want to know that the beneficiaries of the services that they are being asked to support give themselves. In fact, several foundations intentionally work to encourage family participation by offering matching grants.
To whom may we talk if we have questions?
Each ISM class has one or more ISM Foundation representatives called Classroom Champions. These volunteer parents will reach out to you throughout the year, and you can contact them at anytime to get more information or to plan your Family Share giving.
What if we can give more?
Awesome! If you are able to contribute more than $1,800 per child, please help support the education of another student at ISM whose family does not have the means to give the full amount. What better philanthropic cause than helping other children who you see face-to-face right next to your own! After all, we're one big ISM family!
Last updated January 4, 2016 by director