VWSS Community Meeting Review

Dear Community,

It was a pleasure, as a member of the new board, to come together with such an engaged section of our community at the April 22nd Community Forum. Thank you to everyone of you who made the effort to get out on a school night and to all of you who read these notes.

There are more thorough minutes attached, thanks to the volunteer note taking of Ann Pepper, (parent and the current liaison for the Garden Group!) Find the notes here: VWSS Community Meeting Parent Notes

There are a number of important topics from the community meeting that we want to make sure you hear about (even if you don’t get a chance to click on the link and read all of the notes). The overall goal of the meeting was to take a moment to reflect on where we stand now. This was the first time we have had a chance to report to our community since we’ve been formed, and there has been a lot of change and as a board we have had a lot to figure out.

The meeting started with a number of updates on the many faculty and administrative hires that have happened. (These have all been previously announced. Just a nice update on the great work and the solid prospects in this regard.)

The majority of the board presentation was spent giving a better understanding of the financial picture.  The short version is that we are on solid ground, but barely.  The mortgage remains at approximately $1.7m, but the changes that we saw this academic year resulted in the need to increase the maximum available line of credit from $300k to $500k.  We would like to immediately pay-off the most expensive of this debt and not create a reoccurring situation where we are forced to borrow from the next years tuition again, particularly because we can’t count on growing tuition revenue right now. We also need to have enough money in order to be able to make offers to next year’s teachers and begin to put-in-place systems to ensure all of our staff is fairly compensated. In order to do this we have a house (on the corner of Lynn Valley and St. Christopher’s) that we are planning to sell. We believe it is in everyone’s best interests to do this quickly so we don’t run into another situation where we are at risk of not being able to make payroll, so we intend to list in the next two to three weeks.  It is our great hope, that we will attract a buyer or partner from within our larger Anthroposophical community so that the house can possibly continue to serve its current function of providing subsidized teacher housing and a home for the remedial program and/or at least so that we have the option of buying it back someday.  If anyone in the community has any proposals or ideas with respect to the sale, or alternatives to a public listing they would like to share, we invite them to speak or email us as soon as possible to chairbot@vws.ca.

The sale of the house buys us a little breathing room. We intend to spend the next year engaging with our community in a re-visioning process to dream big about our future and then more strategically move forward from there. This includes fundraising so that our community vision can become a reality.

We need the help of our community. We have a number of urgent and strategic needs – e.g. fundraisers, grant writers, community planners, designers and architects, grounds help, construction workers, and much more. Specifically, we have a number of possible teacher hires that need some sort of housing assistance. If you are able to provide subsidized housing or run a committee that helps come up with awesome perks for teachers (weekend passes to Grouse Mountain, home stays, monthly house cleaning, whatever!), we could really use you!

If you have a way you would like to serve at this time. Please email development@vws.ca with RE: volunteer as the subject, and tell us what you might do. Or, visit the sign-up sheets currently in the Grade School hallway outside the Music Room.


Manda Aufochs Gillespie
Board of Trustees, Co-Vice Chair