Establishing a Faculty Family-Member Policy

Q: One of my teachers wants to enroll her daughter in my studio. I have a relatively small staff, and she will end up teaching her own child. What are your policies for family members?

A: Extending a reduced tuition rate for the children of teachers is often an appreciated benefit, but make sure a written agreement is set in advance with clear expectations. We offer our full-time instructors a 50 percent tuition discount on top of any reductions they would be entitled to as regular families, like sibling discounts or multiple class discounts, for example. Their child’s dance supplies and costume costs are also reduced by 20 percent. We have evolved these percentages over the years; a studio owner must take into account what she can afford and what she feels is fair. Some studios offer a sliding-scale discount program, dependent on the hours worked or classes taught per week.

Treat your teachers’ accounts in the same fashion as you do all registered families and require them to keep payments up-to-date. Some teachers might argue, “I’m teaching my own child, why should I have to pay?” But there is a cost to take a class—utilities, insurance and studio operations. We revisit the discounts annually during faculty reviews, and we are clear that they are a benefit of employment—not a guarantee. And remember: If you encounter any behavior issues or perceived favoritism for a teacher’s child or any other student, it is important to take action and address the situation immediately.

Kathy Blake is the owner of Kathy Blake Dance Studios in Amherst, New Hampshire. She and Suzanne Blake Gerety are the co-founders of DanceStudioOwner.com.

 Photo by B Hansen Photography, courtesy of Suzanne Blake Gerety

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