Program Pricing Changes

Wellesley Council on Aging Program Pricing Changes

02/06/18

Over the last week, COA fitness participants have expressed concerns about the changes in cost structure for their classes.  The COA Board wants to step back and review with you the public process that has occurred to date.

The role of the Board of Directors of the Wellesley Council on Aging is to carry out the COA’s mission and ensure that the organization operates in a fiscally sound manner.  Over many years, the COA has received feedback that certain programs were too expensive and some Wellesley seniors were participating at other COAs offering lower prices or not participating at all.  In preparation for the anticipated substantial growth in participation once in Tolles Parsons Center and our desire to offer quality programs at a reasonable price, the Board and staff believed it was an appropriate time to evaluate what we charge for activities.

Early in 2017, a working group comprised of COA staff and Board members was formed to learn how other COAs fund their fee-based programs.  The working group spoke with nine neighboring COAs about their approach to program pricing.  Findings indicated that instructors in these other communities are paid an average of $50-$60 per 60-minute class, whereas Wellesley instructors were being paid the equivalent of twice or more than that amount.  Participants in other communities pay $2.00 - $6.00 per class, much less than participants in Wellesley pay.  These findings clearly showed that Wellesley COA was not aligned with our peer communities. In the Spring of 2017, longtime Wellesley instructors were informed of the working group’s findings and notified that changes in Wellesley’s program pricing and cost structure model may be coming once the COA moved to the Tolles Parsons Center. 

In December 2017, the COA Board voted to change our instructor payment model.  Effective March 2018, instructors will be paid at a set rate per 60-minute class.  New instructors will be offered $50-$60 per 60-minute class.  Acknowledging their experience and commitment, our veteran fitness instructors have been offered $95 per 60-minute class.  More competitive fees paid to instructors means lower activities fees for Wellesley COA participants. 

The Board recognizes that some participants may be disappointed with the effects of these changes.  However, the Board is responsible for ensuring that activities are affordable to all of our seniors, thereby making the Tolles Parsons Center a welcoming place for the entire Wellesley senior community.  Ultimately, it is up to the instructors to determine if they want to accept these changes.

The COA Board of Directors invites you to an informal meeting over coffee at the Tolles Parsons Center on Monday, February 12, 2018 at 10:00 a.m.  This is an opportunity for you to learn more about our new pricing model and to ask and have your questions answered.  All are welcome. 

Sincerely,

Diane Campbell, Chair

COA Board of Directors