Liabilities that CC Directors carry

I have been concerned for many years about Classical Conversations Directors and the liability that they carry when they sign a licensing agreement with CC.

My main areas of concern include:

Areas of liability for CC Directors

Safety of children participating in the Community day including physical, health and safety concerns. This means that the Director should be conducting Background checks on all participants. She also needs to have a two-deep policy meaning that two adults be in the room with children at all times. The Director needs to follow state guidelines on COVID-19 precautions and other health codes.

Building use which includes a rental lease agreement, property insurance, fire codes, conducting fire drills, ensuring the building is safe and secure.

Potentially jeopardizing the church’s property tax exemption by operating a for-profit business in a church.

Business licenses and business registration.

Daycare licensing if the Community has a nursery or childcare for pre-school children.

Hiring tutors. Training tutors. Employment agreements. Paying tutors as employees not Independent Contractors. Potential fines and penalties for misclassifying workers. Payroll processing, including payroll taxes.

Illegally using volunteer labor. Businesses cannot use volunteer labor. They must pay everyone working in their business.

Tax reporting of their own income and expenses as well as Form 1099-NEC reporting to the tutors and other workers.

Fiscal management including invoicing families, record keeping, paying bills, paying tutors

Conforming with all CC licensing requirements on delivering the program, hosting informational meetings, attending Practicum training, submitting to the Support Reps, Area Reps and others up the CC chain of command.

Mandatory reporting requirements of suspected child abuse or neglect. The Director will need to be eyes and ears everywhere.

Negotiating conflict between families, between parents and tutors, between children (bullying), etc. If not handled well, these can result in lawsuits against the Director as the businesses owner.


Nonprofit homeschool programs face some of these issues (but not all), but they have a board of leaders and volunteers to help comply with all these areas. All the responsibility is not on one person in a nonprofit organization.

CC Communities are different. CC Corp pushes all the liability for the operation of the Community onto the shoulders of the local licensed Director. She is carrying this burden alone.

Read more about directing a CC Community

If you’d like to hear a former CC Director address the issue of liability on CC Directors, watch her video at : Former CC Director explains the liability that she carried as a Director

If you want to investigate the reality of being a CC Director join these Facebook groups:

Let Us Reason for Real Facebook group

Talk Classical Conversations
Their are CC-endorsed Facebook groups, but they are heavily monitored and do not encourage open discussion or allow questions that may seem critical of the program or CC Inc.. So alternate groups like these have been formed.


I know this is a sobering topic. My concern is that CC Directors fully understand what they are getting into before signing (or resigning) a licensing agreement.

There is a better, easier way to run a homeschool organization that doesn’t involve one person carrying all this liability. It’s called running a nonprofit homeschool program independent of a CC licensing agreement. Thousands of homeschool leaders have been doing that for decades.

Read my book Homeschool Co-ops: How to Start Them, Run Them and Not Burn Out and join this Facebook group I am a Homeschool Group Leader


Carol Topp, CPA
HomeschoolCPA.com
Helping Homeschool Leaders

Former CC Director explains the liability that she carried as a Director

Colleen Eubanks shares a video review of Classical Conversations. She was a tutor and Classical Conversations Licensed Director for two years.

About the 13:30 mark (roughly half way), she clearly explains some of the liability that she carried as a Licensed CC Director. Her concerns include:

  • Paying tutors as employees or Independent Contractor
  • Not being hired as an employee when a Director
  • Securing a facility to meet and being responsible to the building
  • Potentially jeopardizing the church’s property tax exemption by operating her for-profit business in a church

Since Collen owned another business in addition to directing a CC Community, she knew about employees and Independent Contractors. She also consulted her CPA in running her CC Community business. Smart woman!

She explains her concerns clearly and factually. All CC Directors should be aware of the liability they carry so they enter into a licensing agreement fully aware of these issues.

I hate to hear stories of CC Directors not being aware of the fact they are running a business! And it’s very unfortunate when a church learns that a business has been operating on their property and asks the CC Community to leave. That gives homeschool groups a bad reputation with churches.

Listen to her comments at the 22:20-23:16 minute mark. She encourages CC Directors to fully understand the kind of business they are setting up and that just because it is a low-profit (or no profit) business does not make it a legitimate, nonprofit organization.


Are you considering converting your CC Community from a business to a legitimate nonprofit organization?

My webinar on Create A Nonprofit for Your Homeschool Community can help. It’s only $10 and runs 90 minutes. Typically you would pay $150 for an hour and a half of my time, so the webinar is a bargain.

Carol Topp, CPA
HomeschoolCPA.com
Helping Homeschool Leaders

Speech and Debate Club – Unsure of Its Setup?

Carol Topp, the Homeschool CPA, is frequently asked by small homeschool groups if they are setup up correctly.

Do they owe taxes?

Do they need to be a nonprofit corporation?

Henry  writes, “Can a small homeschool education club focused on speech and debate be categorized as an “unincorporated association” and therefore not apply for recognition by the IRS and not file taxes?

Less than $2,000 pass through the club to pay for insurance and facilities…

This club formed in 2015 and I joined last year and become the director this year. I am wondering if we are structured correctly…”

Listen to Carol’s reply to Henry’s questions on today’s episode of the Homeschool Leader podcast.

  • Can the Speech and Debate Club be a 501c3?
  • Do they need to be a formalized entity?
  • Should they get an EIN?
  • What should they do to be structured correctly?
  • Do they owe taxes?

In the podcast, Carol mentioned how a small nonprofit like Henry’s club can self-declare 501c3 tax exempt status. Carol has a few blog posts on self-declaring 501c3 tax exempt status and the filing the IRS annual notice, Form 990-N:

https://homeschoolcpa.com/how-to-get-added-to-the-irs-database-and-file-the-form-990n/

https://homeschoolcpa.com/irs-form-990n-faq/

In the podcast I mentioned my book The IRS and Your Homeschool Organization

Does your homeschool group need to pay taxes? Could they avoid paying taxes by being a 501c3 tax exempt organization? Do you know the pros and cons of 501c3 status? Do you know what 501c3 status could mean for your homeschool group?

I have the answers for you in my book The IRS and Your Homeschool Organization. The information I share in my book has been helpful to homeschool support groups, co-ops, music and sports groups and will help you understand:

  • The benefits of 501c3 status
  • The disadvantages too!
  • What it takes to make the IRS happy
  • What your state requires
  • Why your organization should consider becoming a nonprofit corporation
  • What is the difference between nonprofit incorporation and tax exemption
  • IRS requirements after you are tax exempt

The webinar Create a Nonprofit for Your Homeschool Community is also helpful.

The webinar is 90 minutes and covers:

  • The difference between a business and a nonprofit
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of being a nonprofit
  • Forming a board: who can be one it, what do they do, etc.
  • Creating bylaws
  • Drafting a budget
  • Setting up a bank account
  • Forming a nonprofit corporation in your state
  • The timeline to get this all done
  • The expense to accomplish this

Conflict of Interest: Paid Teachers as Board Members in a Homeschool Group

A homeschool leader is concerned about a conflict of interest if she wants to be a board member and paid teacher.

Jessica, who wants to start a homeschool co-op emailed HomeschoolCPA Carol Topp this situation:

“I have a question about the conflict of interest issue. Three ladies and I would like to incorporate to teach classes together and form a co-op. If we are the three board members, then does that mean we cannot profit by also teaching? Do you have any article that clarifies that?”

Listen as Carol explains:

  • The conflict of interest between being on the board and being paid by a nonprofit
  • Inurement and self-dealing
  • Why it is not a good practice for nonprofit to have paid staff also serve as board members.
  • Three options Jessica has:
    • Form a 3-way partnership (a for-profit business)
    • Have a separate, independent board that hires teachers as staff
    • Grow the board so the majority is not paid teachers

Featured Product

In the podcast I mentioned my webinar Create a Nonprofit for Your Homeschool Community

What are the advantages and disadvantages of being a nonprofit?

Forming a board: who can be one it and what do they do?

How hard is it?
What are the steps to take?
How fast can it get it done?
How much will it cost?

I have recorded a webinar to answer all these questions and more!

Create a Nonprofit Organization for Your Homeschool Community

Top 10 Tips for Homeschool Leaders: Insurance and Record Keeping

 

Homeschool leaders sometimes wonder when they need an insurance policy. And what type of policy do they need?

 

In this episode Carol Topp, CPA discusses the various types of insurance a typical homeschool group might need. Additionally, homeschool leaders get a few tips on record keeping and reimbursements for expenses.

 

This is the final part of a 5-part series on Top 10 Tips for Homeschool Leaders, a workshop given to homeschool leaders in Wichita, Kansas

 

 

Each episode can be found at HomeschoolCPA.com/Podcast. In the 5-part podcast series Carol will cover:
Episode # 180 Board duties
Episode # 181 Bylaws
Episode # 182 Preventing fraud
Episode # 183 Paying Workers
Episode # 184 Insurance and Record keeping

 

Featured Resource:

Webinar on Financial Statements

In the webinar Carol mentioned record keeping, reimbursements, and financial statements. To help homeschool leaders, especially treasurers, Carol has a free webinar on Financial Reports for Homeschool Groups. She shows you good, bad and really ugly financial reports!

Watch the webinar (no cost) here.

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Insurance Providers for Homeschool Groups

There have been a lot of homeschool leaders sharing helpful information on insurance for homeschool groups on the I Am a Homeschool Group Leader Facebook group. (Come join us!)

Be aware that insurance is licensed by the states, so many insurance plans are limited to only a few states where they are licensed.

Here are insurance providers in no particular order that other homeschool groups have used and comments from homeschool leaders:

 

We use Erie Insurance. If you are in a state that they service, I can’t recommend them enough. The agent was responsive, answered my endless questions about the policy and the many what if’s I could think of, and they came in significantly cheaper than the NCG quote. The best part was they set us up on the same type of policy that a school would use (they were well aware of the type of co-op we were), so every year they can adjust my coverage based on the number of students.

Mennonite Mutual was least expensive for us.

Brotherhood Mutual. They were more reasonable and better insurance in my opinion. https://www.brotherhoodmutual.com

NCG (National Church Group) sold through HSLDA (Homeschool Legal Defense Association) https://ncginsurance.com/home-school-insurance-solutions

There were concerns that NCG did not cover children ages 0-3 years old. As of August 29, 2019, they agreed to extend coverage to children in nursery care (ages 0-3 years) during homeschool group activities effective immediately.

This coverage will be available for an additional premium for nursery exposures within any homeschool co-op, support group, or Classical Conversations community.

The premium charge for this coverage is:Accident Medical – $20 flat charge and General Liability – $100 flat charge

For more info, contact NCG customer service  at homeschoolsupport@ncginsurance.com or at 833-409-8500.

Church Mutual will write policies for nonprofits. One leader said this,” They sent an agent to our building and she sat with me for two hours to understand our programs and needs. She made certain they cover what we need and do. AND, it was less than HALF the quote I got from Brotherhood! Its a really good rate in our opinion.”

I received a quote from Pro Insurance Managers for less than $300. It is event only general liability for the days we meet to do our program (18x/year). For us, a group just starting out, would this be a good choice? PRO Insurance Managers 1-877-CALL-PRO

Church Insurance Specialists, Inc. (in WV, OH, or PA). Contact Ron Shirey at 814-618-5532. You must have a board of directors, you may be an unincorporated association or an incorporated nonprofit, and you must have a religious purpose.

The policy will include general liability, a minimum of $1,000 personal property, sexual misconduct & abuse, accident medical, daycare exposure(for 3 & under), and directors & officers. He said the average quote is $2,000. Churches can be named as additional insured to cover their property.

Have employees? They can also quote you a worker’s comp policy and they offer a payroll service. For more information about their payroll service call 1-866-215-5540 and leave a message in the sales department.

 


Jamie Buckland, Classical Program Consultant gave an excellent webinar on insurance and a summary of questions you should ask your insurance provider when shopping for a policy.

Homeschool Risk 101: Understanding It & Transferring It

I attended the webinar and learned a ton! Very worth the low cost of $12.


Carol Topp, CPA

Helping Homeschool Leaders

Should our bylaws include an indemnification clause?

I’m reading your amazing ebook The IRS and Your Homeschool Organization, and I noted a difference in the bylaws example in your ebook vs your website.

There is an Article 7 Indemnification on the website sample bylaws.

Is an Indemnification section necessary to have in our bylaws?

Thank you,
Nicole

 

Nicole,

I’m glad the book is helpful!

You asked, “Is an Indemnification section necessary?”

 

What:

Let’s start by explaining what indemnification is. It means ‘to indemnify’:

indemnify

to compensate for damage, loss sustained, expense incurred, etc.
to guard, secure against anticipated loss; give security against (future damage or liability).

 

How does it work?
A nonprofit organization might include in their bylaws a clause such as this:

Indemnification
“The Organization agrees to indemnify, defend and hold harmless the board members, its officers, directors and employees, from and against all liability, loss, cost or expense (including attorney’s fees) by reason of liability imposed upon the Organization, arising out of or related to organization’s activities, whether caused by or contributed to by the members or any other party indemnified herein, unless caused by the sole negligence of the member or any other party indemnified herein. Organization may maintain insurance, at its expense, to protect itself and any such person against any such liability, cost or expense.”

Why have an indemnity clause:
It assures nonprofit board members that the nonprofit organization will pay any legal fees related to the organization’s activities or their board service (unless caused by the sole negligence of the board member). Typically, the nonprofit purchases Directors and Officer (D&O) insurance to pay for the legal bills when and if they arise.

Some people will not serve on a nonprofit board without an indemnity clause and without Directors and Officer insurance. So having this clause in the bylaws and a D&O policy helps attract and retain board members.

 

Why not have an indemnity clause:
Some nonprofits are small and they do not have the financial means to pay legal bills of board members or purchase Directors and Officer insurance.

True Story: I am on the board of a local charity (not a homeschool group) and we were reading over the bylaws word-by-word and updating them (a great idea to do that every few years!). The bylaws had an indemnification clause much like the one above. We were all a bit confused by the language and unclear what it meant.
One of the long-time, experienced board members said that the last sentence was the most important. It said: “The organization may purchase insurance for such indemnification as determined by the board.” This is a tiny charity, all volunteer, and we do not carry insurance to cover Directors and Officers. We decided to delete the indemnification clause since we had no resources to pay for attorney fees or D&O insurance. The indemnification clause was a promise we could not keep.

 

What should we do?

It’s best to research indemnification and talk it over with your board. Your board can decide to include it in your bylaws or not.

This is not legal advice. I recommend you contact an attorney if you need additional assistance.

 

Carol Topp, CPA

Helping Homeschool Leaders

Top 5 risks to churches (and maybe your homeschool group as well)

From the Managing Your Church webpage, I learned the Top 5 Reasons Churches are Taken to Court.

Maybe they are a risk to your homeschool group as well.

In 2017, the top five reasons were

(1) sexual abuse of a child,

(2) property disputes,

(3) personal injuries,

(4) zoning disputes, and

(5) insurance disputes.

 

The article goes on to say:

Churches must be aggressive (in preventing child abuse). Any reasonable suspicion of child abuse must be reported immediately. It doesn’t matter if you or your colleagues are defined as a mandatory reporter in your state or not. Report it. Transfer the risk to the state in terms of what can be done about it.

I think that advice applies to homeschool groups, as well.

Please, please protect the children in your program and get training on how to spot and deal with child abuse.

The article lists the following resources (check with your church host; they may already have some of these resources):

Reducing the Risk, a comprehensive child abuse prevention training program (available in DVD format or online streaming)

50-State Child Abuse Reporting Laws Survey for Clergy and Church Leaders (available as a PDF download or for ChurchLawAndTax.com subscribers)

Church Board Guide to a Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Policy

Child Sexual Abuse Response Plan

Draw the Line: Relational Boundaries for Safe Youth Ministry

Let’s work hard to keep children safe.

Carol Topp, CPA

HomeschoolCPA.com

Does My Homeschool Group Need Directors and Officers Insurance?

Does My Homeschool Group Need Directors and Officers Insurance?

 

Does your homeschool group need to protect your leaders? Sure you do, so you may consider purchasing Directors and Officers (D&O) insurance.

In this short podcast episode (12 minutes)  Carol Topp, the HomeschoolCPA, will explain:

  • What is D&O insurance?
  • What does D&O insurance protect?
  • When to buy D&O insurance?
  • How does being a nonprofit corporation help?
  • Article on Insurance for Homeschool Groups.

In the podcast Carol mentioned …

Money Management in a Homeschool Organization

Does your homeschool group manage their money well? Do you have a budget and know where the money is spent? Do you know how to prevent fraud? This 115 page book will help you to open a checking account, establish a budget, prevent mistakes and fraud, use software to keep the books, prepare a financial statement and hire workers. Sample forms and examples of financial statements in clear English are provided.

Click Here to request more information!

Carol Topp, CPA

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Summer reading for homeschool leaders: Homeschool Co-ops

 

This summer, I’ll be featuring one of my books for homeschool leaders every few weeks.

This week it’s my first book for homeschool leaders,

 

I published this book in 2008 with a different cover. In 2013 I updated it and chose a new cover.

 

HomeschoolCo-opsCover

Original cover

HS Co-ops Cover_400

Updated cover

This book will help homeschool leaders start and run a homeschool co-op.

It has chapters on:

Part One: Starting a Homeschool Co-op
Chapter One: Benefits of Co-ops
Chapter Two: Disadvantages of Co-ops
Chapter Three: Different Types of Co-ops
Chapter Four: Your First Planning Meeting
Chapter Five: What’s in a Name? Names, Missions

Part Two: Running a Homeschool Co-op
Chapter Six: Leadership
Chapter Seven: Co-op Offerings
Chapter Eight: Money Management
Chapter Nine: Managing Volunteers and Conflict
Chapter Ten: Ready for the Next Step? 501c3 Tax Exempt Status

Part Three: Not Burning Out
Chapter Eleven: Avoiding Burn out

Read a sample chapter

Read more about Homeschool Co-ops the book

 

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