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Mind the Gap: An Insider's Irreverent Look at Private School Finances and Management-with a Lesson for Government and Industry, Too! Paperback – 2014

4.4 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: n/a (2014)
  • ISBN-10: 0985876212
  • ISBN-13: 978-0985876210
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #185,762 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Mind the Gap is essential reading for school administrators, educators, parents and alums. It's a straight-forward assessment of how the financial model for independent/private schools and universities is broken and the potential for new growth that is being lost each day until the issue is addressed. The story of Columbia Grammar and Prep's renewal is amazing and inspirational. You will never look at an appeal letter the same way again once you understand how your donation is actually perpetuating an unsustainable financial situation and preventing the development of new resources and programs for students.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Although repetitive and dripping with profound pride in his achievements (hence 4/5 stars), the basic messages of Dr. Soghoian should be sobering for all private schools, not to mention households and most institutions. Reduced to fundamentals Soghoian says:

1. Always run a school operationally EXCLUSIVELY from from tuition revenues, without relying on gifts or endowments - annual funds are not only taboo, but indicative of an unhealthy cost structure

2. Hire as few people in administration as possible and pay them HANDSOMELY to reduce the need for additional administrators - one GREAT comptroller is better than THREE average ones, who then incur a communication cost, and it's cheaper to pay $120k to one worker than $50k + benefits to three

3. Expand facilities exclusively using gifts / donations

4. Maximize spending that directly improves the educational experience of the students while minimizing administrative expenses

5. Endowments are harmful - schools with larger endowments consistently charge higher tuition than their less endowed counterparts, without delivering better results

Soghoian is simply applying common business sense to private education. More surprising is the fact that so few schools heed his sound advice. How many times have I (a private school teacher) heard people wish we had a bigger endowment or complain about not meeting our annual fund, yet we don't cut the administration, we add.

Amen, Dr. Soghoian, Amen.
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Format: Kindle Edition
At the beginning of "Mind the Gap," author and headmaster Dr. Soghoian writes of his long reluctance to publish: "It is difficult if not impossible to avoid the over-emphasis on the 'I' in this sort of circumstance where leading a school ... has centered on my own efforts in virtually every area of school life." Well, you can't criticize him for lacking self-awareness. "Mind the Gap" -- on virtually every page -- centers on one Manhattan school, sets fire to other nameless NYC schools liberally used as straw men, and assumes that everyone else in the independent school world is guilty of the biggest sin of all: bad thinking. For as Dr. Soghoian tells us more than once, he is a "Cartesian." In fact, the book does have several interesting points to make, and many practitioners will enjoy reading it. Administrations are bloated. Teachers are underpaid, and administrators and boards don't get around to figuring out what to do about it. So-called development offices first have to raise the money to pay their own office's salaries, which adds up to no inconsequential percentage of what they raise and which provides the genesis of Dr. Soghoian's pet theory that "the amount of waste each school produces ... is equivalent ... to its annual fund." We mustn't ask for a Cartesian defense of this, because Dr. Soghoian hasn't been able to look at the budgets of any other schools. Occasionally, the author strays into the truly eccentric, as when he spends several pages maintaining that annual funds are "illegal." The author reasons his case, but honestly, he must know at least one or two New York attorneys who could have provided him counsel in this area and cited case law (or maybe just Descartes) to the contrary. Annual funds may be ineffective, but they are quite legal.Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
If you ever wondered what separates successful institutions from the rest of the pack, this unique insider's look into the world of private schooling is your homework. Dr. Soghoian masterfully delineates the distinction between the unnecessary expenditures of some other private schools with that of Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School's acute and savvy business decisions. He also appropriately articulates the need to properly balance frugal spending with an endless desire to offer the best available educational opportunities. It is evident from this book that Columbia Grammar's staggering turnaround wasn't a result of coincidence; it was the product of a dedicated headmaster's clear understanding of the underpinnings of the private school world.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is an amazing look behind the curtain of private school finances. Interested in common sense and fiduciary responsibilities? This is the book for you. This man ignores the dogma and thinks refreshingly outside the box.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Dr. Soghoian is an out of the box thinker, but it's all just common sense.
This book is inspirational.
It should be required reading for all private school administrators.
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Format: Hardcover
Mind the Gap is a must read for all people running a not for profit educational institution. The message resonates across the governance of many other not for profit institutions as well. It shatters the financial model used by all educational and many other non profits that do not require tuition or dues to cover the actual cost of providing the educational or other services. These organizations,therefore, require annual giving in order to close the gap between an operating budget and projected revenue. Under Soghoian's model, all operating expenses are covered by tuition and all other giving is to be used to cover capital expenses and endowment.
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