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Ensuring Financial Sustainability In Christian School : Board Training Insights

By January 26, 2024January 30th, 2024Insurance

Q:  “How can Christian schools prioritize financial sustainability in their strategic planning?”

A: “Financial sustainability is a critical focus, emerging as a top priority among Christian school leaders. This emphasizes the need for strategic approaches to ensure long-term financial health and success of Christian educational institutions.”

Considering the stated priority, a troubling question emerges:  Can schools REALLY ensure financial sustainability?

One thing we CAN say with certainty is that financially sustainable Christian school operations happen in partnership with a WELL-TRAINED board.

I will never forget the first time as a Christian school risk manager I encountered a school burdened by the threat of a major Directors & Officers claim. 

The damage could have exceeded seven figures.
The school and its board were justifiably concerned.
Their insurance carrier had preemptively declined coverage for the claim and defense costs.

The school came to me for help…but more on that in a minute….

Here are my questions:  

1.) How can Christian school boards effectively steer long-term vision and planning for Financial   
2.) How can they fulfill their duties of care, loyalty, and obedience while ensuring financial stability?
3.) How can they monitor and confirm performance, capability, and accountability in financial 
4.) How can they steward resources effectively to maintain financial health?
5.) How can they be entrusted to oversee financial statement integrity, risk, and controls?

Here is my answer:

Christian school boards must be equipped through hands-on training and provided with templates for success in financial sustainability.

Christian school boards must understand the school mission, vision, values/core culture statements, and beliefs and they should receive hands-on training in developing and utilizing the following tools for financial sustainability: :

Strategic Analytics

SWOT Analyses
PESTLE Analyses
NOISE Analyses

Strategic Planning

Creating and implementing a Strategic Plan
Managing and monitoring curated school budget dashboards

Best-Practice Templates

Updating Board Policies and Board Handbook
Creating a Conflict of Interest Questionnaire and Attestation form

Effective Risk Transfer

Financing risk through an Educator’s Legal Liability Policy that specializes in Christian school risk (ELL covers D&O, EPL, and Educator’s Professional Liability)
Verifying that your school’s Excess/Umbrella coverage extends over the underlying policies that can give rise to high-cost claims, including:
                       •  ELL coverage
                       • Employee Benefits coverage
                       • Sexual Abuse, Molestation, Misconduct coverage (SAMM)
                       • Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

As for the school I’d mentioned earlier- the one that faced the major Directors & Officers claim…

Don’t worry- the claim was closed without incident following review of the original denial of coverage, and the case settled without the board and school being dragged into the lawsuit.

As a safeguard, we created a Christian School Board Best Practices Handbook and updated the school board’s Conflict of Interest Policies. With Atlas Insurance’s help, the school was able to then move to a carrier program that specializes in Christian education risk. We reduced their annual commercial insurance costs by 15% and bettered their insurance coverage limits and terms by $Millions.

When it comes to Christian school board training for financial sustainability, the old saying remains true: 

The best defense is a good offense.

As a courtesy, I’ve included some resources for your board in the links above.

Stop by our website by clicking the links provided.

I look forward to empowering your Christian school through effective risk management and commercial insurance placement from a Christian worldview.

Eric Price is a Certified School Risk Manager for Christian schools throughout the United States and an award-winning Research Author with publications on topics ranging from school choice to biblical worldview and spiritual formation in Christian schools.

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