Dear Sequoyah Families, 

I hope this note finds you well and safe. I'm writing today to update you on Sequoyah's financial situation and the work we are undertaking to support families who are experiencing significant and immediate financial impact due to the COVID-19 crisis. 

In addition to the rapid restructuring of our educational programs, the administration and Board of Trustees have been working on the financial aspects of school operations. We want you to know that as we make decisions to maintain the financial stability of the school, we are conscious of the need to do so while seeking ways to help families in need through this challenging time. 

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Sequoyah was in a stable financial situation, working towards and meeting financial goals to maintain our sustainability. We had also been experiencing success in our efforts to raise funds to purchase our K-8 campus and build out space for our high school program. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, we are facing the financial realities that most independent schools are facing. Our core expenses have not changed. Salaries and benefits for our employees will continue as we support the dedication and commitment of our faculty and staff who are putting in countless hours to ensure the success of our Distance Learning Program. We remain committed to socioeconomic diversity through indexed tuition, along with shouldering our existing financial commitments to technology, facilities maintenance, operations and other operating expenses. We also know that the eventual success of our capital campaign will be critical to ensuring Sequoyah's success in the future.  

However, in this extraordinary time we wanted to let you know of some of the actions we are taking to ease the financial burden on families in need:
  • One Time Tuition Assistance Program: This program is a temporary tuition support program designed to help families who are facing significant income cuts or job loss due to COVID-19, which impacts their ability to make tuition payments in the near term.  Awards under this program are considered one-time hardship grants as funds are limited to the 2020-21 school year. To apply, please go here to  complete your SSS application. In addition to the financial information requested, please include a description of your reduced income or job loss as a result of COVID-19 in the notes section of your SSS application and upload any supporting documentation from your employer, if applicable. If you have any questions, please email Chief Financial Officer James Cooper at
  • 11-Payment Plan Extension: If you are on the 11-payment plan and need an extension on your monthly payments, which begin in June 2020 or if you need an extension on your current year tuition payments, please contact Chief Financial Officer James Cooper at .
  • Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES ACT): We are in the process of applying for a short-term loan established by the CARES Act to cover payroll and benefits for the next two and a half months. This short term financial relief would help us pay our faculty and staff through the end of this school year. 
  • Field Studies Fee: Some portion of the field studies fee will be refunded for canceled trips. We need to do more work to figure out what is possible while taking into account the expenses already incurred, including salary obligations to contracted trip leaders. We will be reaching out to families once we have more information on this issue. 
  • Pandemic Relief Fund: We understand that in these uncertain times there may be families in our community in need of financial assistance beyond what is provided through indexed tuition. This is why we have established the Pandemic Relief Fund . This fund will provide temporary assistance to a targeted group of families to help meet basic needs. Any fundraising surplus will be directed towards indexed tuition for our families. 
While we are saddened that we will be unable to come together in person for our annual auction on May 16 th , we look forward to a virtual event. You will hear more about our plans and how you can become involved in the coming week. As we look to wrap up the Annual Fund and host our virtual auction, we are sensitive to the fact that many people may not be in a position to give at the same level financially as in the past and we only ask everyone to do what they can. We are continuing on with these efforts, however, because we depend on these funds to meet our budgeted operating expenses for the current school year.

If you would like to discuss any of the assistance programs noted above, please email Chief Financial Officer, James Cooper at . If you would like to discuss ways you can help the Sequoyah community during this time by making a financial contribution, please email Director of Advancement, Ryan McDaniel at

I am grateful for your partnership and support. This is a challenging time for so many both within and beyond the Sequoyah community. Through the combined dedication of our community, parent volunteers, and Sequoyah faculty and staff we will continue to provide an education that challenges the mind, nurtures the heart, and celebrates human dignity.


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