What Place Does Business Have in Education?

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“If governance, curriculum, teaching, and assessment don’t harmonize, the symphony of the school won’t be the same song.”  – Andrew Kern

When I married Greg in 2003, he was driving a race car for a hobby and a delivery truck for a career. Both of these, the hobby and the career, required diligence surrounding the income and expenses. We quickly realized that operating both of these endeavors left us continually questioning our commitment to ethical money management. Is this a legitimate expense? Is this earned income? The temptations were great, and our faith lacking.

Thankfully, the Lord realized we needed time, maturity, and a work of the Spirit to better handle these responsibilities. By 2005, the delivery route had a new owner, and by 2008, so did the race car. The lessons we learned would prove to be invaluable for my future vocation.

When I began homeschooling, I quickly joined our county co-op. We gathered together, divided up responsibilities, and served one another. Money changed hands in limited ways: for class supplies, field trips, membership dues, and maybe paper products needed for Mom’s Night Out events. But eventually, they needed more than just a treasurer and a separate checking account. Because bylaws and a board were needed, they wisely organized as a nonprofit with a 501(c)(3) exemption.

My family now participates in a program which meets once a week, 28 weeks out of the year, and is also organized as a 501(c)(3). We have created a culture for our families which relies heavily on expectation and commitment. Charging and compensating has proven to be a worthy model in that it has supported our desire to set reasonable expectations met with uniform commitment.

Are you just collecting money for supplies and rent? If so, are you certain the IRS would not consider this as your personal income? It is my opinion that an individual collecting money may be vulnerable without a board for accountability and bylaws for instruction.

Do you want to be recognized as an extension of the church in which you meet? Then meet with the decision-makers to request to be just that, a ministry of the church. The treasurer can handle the money and the board can be recognized as the governing body.

If organizing with a few fellow moms to form a board and create bylaws is reasonable to you, where do you even begin?

What if you are like me? Maybe you are thinking that a K4-12th grade program meeting once a week with committed families, planned schedules, and paid tutors sounds like it is just what you want. Where to begin?

Business, the actual word, comes from the Old English bisye, the nature of being preoccupied, disposed to anxiety.

Doesn’t that sound encouraging?

Who wants to go meet with an attorney, a CPA, an insurance agent, or local government officials just to school alongside one another? Would it be easier if you had a basic understanding of the role these authorities have in your business? You may not want to do these things, but if cultivating wisdom and virtue in your students is your objective, I believe they are necessary.

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