All schools must consider the following steps in building an organization appropriate to their purpose:
Build vision with parent study groups through Montessori book discussions (to establish founding principles).
Parent Advisory Board
Establish a parent advisory board composed of people with expertise in the following areas: financial, legal, site selection, management, Montessori teaching, etc.
Establish incorporation to limit liability in the case of lawsuits, present a stable image, extend the life of the school beyond the founder, and provide an insurable entity for the school. An attorney should be consulted.
For-Profit (sub-chapter S organization) status allows for specific ownership of the resources, profit-making, and liquidation of resources for profit. The owner has complete control, with the parents taking the role of consumers.
Not-for-Profit status allows for federal and state tax-exempt status (including sales tax and property tax exemption), solicitation of tax-deductible gifts, and solicitation of gifts from foundations. It also helps when enlisting volunteer help from the community. Some not-for-profits operate as parent cooperatives, with parents of enrolled children making up the majority of the board. Others have a board made up of members appointed by the founding head of school, apart from the parent community.
Sole Proprietorship requires no incorporation and no systematic representation of procedures and resources. Because of increasing liability of schools, a sole proprietorship carries more risk and should be well insured.
A Not-for-Profit Foundation may be established by a for-profit, under strict legal supervision. The not-for-profit foundation supports the for-profit to provide fundraising capability.
Acquire insurance protection against business interruption, liability, boiler malfunction, building casualties, etc. Work with a local broker.
Check requirements of local social and health services, building and zoning, health record-keeping, class size, food service, fire code, building code, and teacher-student ratios.