Most preschools would love to pay their staff more while keeping tuition low and excellence high. Here are some tips from Sycamore.
* Minimize costs. Sycamore receives donations of rent, yard work and some utilities, as well as volunteer help in maintenance projects.
* Keep a "wish list." Let people know what items the school needs regularly (such as craft supplies) and on a one-time basis (such as a computer or piano).
* Raise money. Involve parents and staff in fund-raisers — such as Sycamore's carnival in the fall and a silent auction in the spring. The school also sells T-shirts and other items.
* Donation doublers. Sycamore receives matching funds for fund-raisers from Aid Association for Lutherans; Lutheran Brotherhood matches parishioner donations.
It's no puzzle why Sycamore Tree Preschool, a ministry of Our Saviour Lutheran Church, Bremerton, Wash., came to be honored as one of the top 10 in the country. Sycamore backs up a commitment to excellence by paying salaries that attract and keep top teachers.
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