Trustees Approve $4 Million Budget Increase

The Phillips Academy Board of Trustees approved a budget increase of $4 million, bringing the total to $80 million for the coming year, and paving the way for new initiatives and projects on campus. An increase in tuition and fundraising will allow for the expanded budget. Tuition covers approximately 60% of the academy’s annual budget. This upcoming year, boarding students’ tuition will increase by $2,250 (6.8%) to $35,250. Similarly, day students’ tuition will increase by $1,750 (6.8%) to $27,450. This 6.8% increase in tuition is more than twice the current rate of inflation. The Andover Fund accounts for around 10% of the annual budget, through contributions from alumni, parents, and friends. The Andover Fund’s goal for the next fiscal year is to raise $7 million by June 30, 2006. Although Phillips Academy already has an endowment of around $620 million, much of the endowment’s income is restricted to certain parts of the budget such as campus upkeep, financial aid, and faculty salaries. Last week, the Board of Trustees, Head of School Barbara Landis Chase, and several members of the Deans Council were present for the annual winter meeting. They discussed several issues to be factored into the budget increase including faculty compensation, financial aid, the Commons renovation project, and the restoration of the soccer field. However, the recent increase in fuel costs has added nearly $1.4 million to the Academy’s expenses. Therefore, of the $4 million increase in budget, only $2.6 million will actually be available for new initiatives. Phillips Academy requires $80 million to operate the campus in its entirety. This amount accounts for salaries, heat, utilities, financial aid, outreach programs, summer programs, and two museums, but there is always more to do. Faculty raises will continue to be given at a 3.4% inflation rate, as set by the Consumer Price Index. In addition to giving sufficient faculty raises, Director of Communications Michael Strysick said, “The trustees feel a strong commitment to faculty and staff compensation.” Compensation includes not only salary, but also a large portion of health insurance and retirement funds. Dean of Admissions Jane Fried said, “I am also very pleased that the Board maintained its commitment to a strong financial aid program despite the unexpected burden of escalating energy costs.” One of PA’s core values is its dedication to education regardless of financial status. Currently, approximately 40% of the student population, or 432 students, receives some type of financial aid. Thus the Trustees decided to approve a financial aid budget of $11,693,00; an increase of $870,000 from last year, this budget represents 32.4% of tuition revenue The Trustees have also tentatively set the Commons renovation project into motion, selecting Design C. This design involves an expansion of the Ryley room, a renovation of the Upper Left dining hall into a café-type meeting area, a reconstruction of the kitchen facilities, and the building of an East Pavilion. The Trustees have called for the selection of an architect. However, if they cannot gather adequate funds for the renovation, the project may still be halted. Finally, the Board of Trustees approved the renovation of the soccer field. Suffering from drainage problems, the soccer field has often been rendered unplayable. Over the past 10 years, several efforts to fix the fields have failed. This new attempt to overhaul the entire field will cost $1.24 million. It will create a new drainage system and replace about six feet of soil. Stanley Smoyer donated $1 million specifically towards this project, in honor of his two soccer-playing sons, both of whom attended Andover. However, these initiatives will cost an extra $2.6 million. Thus the Academy must depend on the generosity of alumni, faculty, and parents. Secretary of the Academy Elizabeth Roberts said, “At the board meeting we discussed progress to date – with six months down, we are slightly ahead of halfway through our annual goal. The board also discussed upcoming fundraising priorities, which will be continued to discuss at future meetings.” Ms. Roberts concludes, “The board did a terrific job balancing the pressures it feels to keep costs and risks down, fundraising up, and ensure that Phillips Academy is the best high school in the country!”