Maintaining Costs for Summer Program Directors
Vol. 14 No. 3
Summer programs are often run as completely separate educational programs regarding budgeting, scheduling, planning, curriculum, and staffing. For the Summer Program Director with full-time responsibilities as part of the faculty or Administrative Team, the burden of the summer camp silo can be an overwhelming one.
Let’s break down some of the isolation wall and look at simple accounting functions all Summer Program Directors should be doing.
Maintain your own expense spreadsheet.
Tracking expenses is primarily the role of your Business Office but that doesn’t reduce your accountability. Keep your own records and review them from time to time with your school’s Business Office. Mistakes do happen. However, by maintaining your own expense spreadsheet, you gain credibility and support.
For example, a Summer Program Director attending a recent workshop described a situation she experienced—being billed for a projector that she did not order. Because she maintained her own spreadsheet of expenses, she was able to converse with her CFO to have it expensed correctly.
Split costs with other departments.
While in the planning/inventory process for next year's Summer Program, you notice you’ll need a new screen for your program’s Thursday night movies. The old one is beyond repair, and the popularity of movie nights is so great cancelling the events isn’t a good idea. The issue is, purchasing a new screen consumes a large portion of the budget and there are other expenses yet to consider. One possible solution is to reach out to other departments for possible cost sharing. Certainly other departments take advantage of large screens for lessons and various activities. By splitting the expense with them, you’re saving precious budget dollars and maintaining a beloved community event.
Track and measure enrollment from year to year.
Much like tracking the expenses billed against your Summer Program, you’ll want to track your enrollments (preferably by age group) each year. Data is a powerful tool for making projections and assuring your budget is viable. Talk with your Admission Officer about ways to track enrollment. Obviously, technology is a great aid with managing enrollment. Your Admission Officer will be able to help you include your summer program into the school's enrollment software.
Check and double-check all vendor and summer employee qualifications and references.
Partner with your CFO to ensure that all vendors have been verified. It’s easy to sign on a vendor suggested to you by a trusted friend without checking references, or bring on a camp counselor recommended by a colleague. Always make sure the Business Office knows who you’re hiring and that a third-party reference check has been performed. Without secured references, you are at increased risk in the event something should happen involving that person or to them leading to a costly lawsuit.
Additional ISM resources for Gold members
I&P Vol. 39 No. 11 Hiring, Preparing, and Training Staff for Your Summer Program