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Money Woes May Doom Reston Independent School

by Karen Goff — July 13, 2016 at 2:45 pm 5 Comments

Students at School for Tomorrow/Credit: Jessica WallachJust a year after opening in Reston, School for Tomorrow, a small independent school for grades 4 through 12 is in danger of closing.

The school, which has had its main location in Maryland since 2009, will find out next week if it has the means to go forward for 2016-17.

School parents and teachers found out in May that the school’s founder, Alan Shusterman, had badly mismanaged the school’s finances, according to a Washington Post article this week. Shusterman has since left his post, but the issues remain.

The school community is trying to raise awareness — and money — in order to go forward, said Rich Forsen of Herndon, chairman of the school’s board of directors and parent of a 10th grader.

“We are disappointed the school could be in jeopardy,” he said. He said he was drawn to the school because of it’s individualization for the students.

“In general, students are encouraged to be themselves,” he said.

Forsen said the school community has raised about $70,000, but it may not be enough to pay teachers and operate School for Tomorrow. In Reston, where there were 18 students last school year, they need about five more students or $150,000 to go forward.

Tuition is $32,500 a year, but many students had been receiving financial aid, which is also in jeopardy. There is a Go Fund Me page to try and raise scholarship money.

Forsen said many families left the school after the financial issues were disclosed last spring. He says he has been too busy trying to save the school to look at other options for his son.

The school will hold an open house Wednesday night from 6 to 8 p.m. at the school, 11480 Sunset Hills Rd. in Reston.

Jessica Wallach of Reston teaches photography as part of an interdisciplinary approach at School for Tomorrow.

“It would be such a loss to our community,” if the school closes, she said.

She said the school does a great job of meeting students’ individual needs — some come to School for Tomorrow because they are “twice exceptional” (gifted but also with learning differences) or have been bullied to public school just was not a fit for them.

“It would be such a shame if the school has to close,” she said. “We are so close to where we want to be.”

Photo: Students at School forTomorrow/Credit: Jessica Wallach

  • JoAnne Norton

    I support public schools and would use my money toward public teachers’ salaries, not for a school with tuition of 32,000.

    • Greg

      Every taxpayer, like it or not, supports public schools. Tuition, for those who choose to pay it, is on top of whatever taxes they pay.

      School for Tomorrow is not a charter school and receives no public support.

    • Amy Bolster Guerber

      I have 3 kids – 2 of them are going fine in FCPS. I too support public schools and do not relish the need to pay 32K for private school. But after countless IEP meetings, my child with a genius IQ and Asperger’s, just can’t function in the large classrooms and chaos of middle school. Thank goodness for this option with 4-5 kids in a very calm classroom where he can study and learn to the top of his potential. One size doesn’t fit all in public school so we are extremely grateful for this as an option even if we need to pay. My other 2 will continue to be in public school.

  • Rich Forsen

    For the type of environment that SFT provides, many parents are willing to pay more than $32,500 because public school simply doesn’t provide for a proper environment for their child to pursue their goals. Also, FYI, since the article was posted, we are now in need of only 4 additional students at either campus to be able to move forward. Please visit http://www.schoolfortomorrow.net or visit the gofundme page, and please read the article in the Post and its comments as well. SFT is a school that stumbled, but has a community of close to 40 parents and faculty that want it to continue and flourish. All questions and inquiries are welcome.

  • 30yearsinreston

    Did he get a new job as RA CEO
    He has the main qualification – squandering others money

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