Frequently Asked Questions About NVMI Budget and Fund Raising

NVMI's governing board has a set a fund raising goal for 2016-2017 of $400,000.  Those funds are being used to help us offset a $1,000,000 deficit that exists because the military model is much more expensive than a typical public school:

  • NVMI serves more than 3 times the typical number of Special Education students and provides a very robust special education "push in" program in which each English and math classroom has two professional educators providing support for all students, both special needs and general education
  • NVMI provides free bus transportation and free breakfast, lunch, and supper to all interested students
  • NVMI provides robust athletics, outdoor education, leadership development, and field trip experiences for all students
  • NVMI provides free uniforms for all students
  • and the list goes on.

Here are some frequently asked questions and answers:

1. Have you considered asking parents about their personal financial situation and, if appropriate, having them pay for services at the school (e.g., lunches, bus transportation, after school programs)? Considering my family's own situation, we would be willing to contribute something, and I suspect that other families who appreciate the school environment NVMI creates would do the same (assuming, of course, they can).
ANSWER: State law prohibits charging for most of these things (bus transportation being a notable exception). Because 91% of NVMI families qualify for free and reduced lunch, most NVMI families cannot afford to pay for bus transportation, were we to charge for it.
2. This is somewhat related to the first question: we received a call from a student/junior staff member regarding the request for monthly donations. We are willing to consider this, but I would like more details, namely: is the donation tax-deductible? If that is the case, you should make it clear when the request is made, as this is a meaningful benefit for those who itemize their tax deductions.
ANSWER: Donations are absolutely tax-deductible and when made, donors receive a tax receipt.
3. There are several monthly expenses that parents are required to pay that should be reevaluated. The major one that frustrates me relates to haircuts - there have been several instances where my child has been told to cut his hair shorter/fade it better or else be in violation of the hair code, and we have needed to pay for a couple of haircuts each month. These costs add up, and more flexibility on this may free up resources for parents that could be contributed directly to NVMI.
ANSWER: As a military school, haircuts for young men is an obvious expectation. NVMI does provide $5 haircuts monthly for families who would like to take advantage of this service, and NVMI also, at times, makes free haircuts available.
4. Have you thought about asking students to return certain uniform clothing that no longer fits? A 'hand-me-down' program would save costs.
ANSWER: NVMI does something like this.  Please bring any hand-me-downs to the main office for donation.
5. With all of the physical training the students already go through, why have the requirement of participating in an organized sport for a minimum of 1 year? This, probably, requires NVMI to pay for extra equipment & staff?
ANSWER: Athletics is an integral part of any military academy, and one of the NVMI Four pillars.  As such, participation in sports is considered an essential element of the cadet leader development program.
6. The incentive fundraising activities that the students have done (e.g., selling a certain amount of candy bars earns rewards for the student) should continue, as this motivated my child to sell as much as possible. Related to this: try to organize these activities with the students wearing their uniforms - I would be more likely to contribute if I saw the students outside a grocery store in uniform, and they explained the role NVMI serves in the San Fernando Valley.
ANSWER: We definitely do have students in uniform when possible, and will attempt to expand this.
7. The field trips that have been organized are great and extremely inexpensive - perhaps some families (like ours) could pay a bit more for these experiences?
ANSWER: State law prohibits requiring curricular and co-curricular trips with fees that exclude students can cannot pay.  We continue to ask for donations and many parents generously help us in this regard.
THANK YOU for excellent questions and ideas.  Please email mryan@novamil.org if you have any other questions.
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