NBOA Industry Guidance

NBOA produces guidance and thought pieces to help business officers, heads of school and other independent school leaders understand pressing issues in the areas of school finance and operations, launch discussions and take action. Sometimes produced in collaboration with business partners that serve the independent school community, these publications are available FREE to NBOA members and for purchase for nonmembers. For NBOA’s research publications, see the Research Reports page.

Questions? Email publications@nboa.org or call 202-407-7140.

Cyber Insurance Guide Cover

Guidance on Cyber Insurance for Independent Schools

A guide for technology leaders and business officers

Cyber liability insurance is a core component in a school’s insurance portfolio, and not having appropriate cyber coverage can leave a school exposed financially. The Association of Technology Leaders in Independent Schools (ATLIS) and NBOA jointly created this guide on cyber insurance for independent schools to help the business officer and technology director understand and purchase appropriate cyber liability insurance coverage. The guide covers key considerations and controls, third-party vendor contracts, action steps, FAQs, a glossary and technology checklist. 

Released: 2022

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Free for members | Not available to nonmembers 

Practical Guidance for Independent School Business Operations

An Assessment Tool

For schools to secure their financial health in perpetuity, they must have clearly defined operational policies and procedures as well as sound fiduciary practices. The 60 guidelines in “Practical Guidance” cover four key areas: governance, finance, facilities and operations, and human resources. Each guideline includes a range of evidence of achievement, divided into three categories: baseline practices, exemplary practices and red flags, which should help schools identify areas of concern. This assessment tool includes an interactive action-planning worksheet to help leaders prioritize action items for their own purposes or in preparation for an accreditation or reaccreditation visit.

Released: 2020

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Free for members  |  $179 for nonmembers*


Tax Compliance

Considerations for Not-for-Profit Independent Schools

While a tax-exempt school is not required to pay federal income taxes, it may have other types of tax requirements. And in order to maintain tax-exempt status, a not-for-profit independent school must provide transparent governance, financial and operational information to the Internal Revenue Service and the public. In addition to filing an annual information return (Form 990), most independent schools are required to file and pay payroll taxes and other state and local taxes. Some schools may also need to consider unrelated business income and foreign tax reporting. This guide covers the various complex tax issues an independent school may encounter.

Released: 2022

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Free for members  |  $59 for nonmembers*

Wage and Hour Issues

Facing Independent Day and Boarding Schools

Many independent schools struggle to understand and maintain compliance with federal and state wage and hour laws, specifically those dealing with the proper classification and compensation of school employees. These laws often do not apply neatly to schools’ needs or diverse workforces, which include employees who work part-time, on contract or on a flexible schedule, or fulfill residential, travel and/or extracurricular duties. Authored by attorneys at Schwartz Hannum PC, this white paper seeks to help school administrators more easily classify these distinct positions.

Released: 2019

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Free for members  |  $39 for nonmembers*


Mergers and Acquisitions

Legal, Financial and Tax Considerations for Independent Schools

As market conditions and demographics change, more schools are considering merging with or acquiring a neighboring independent school. This white paper includes information on nonprofit mergers and acquisitions, suggestions for kickstarting leadership conversations, processes for assessing a potential partner, types of school combinations, and key areas of due diligence, among other insights specific to independent schools. Leaders from three national firms — LearnCollab, Venable and CliftonLarsonAllen — authored the paper, which is framed by introductory remarks by NBOA President and CEO Jeffrey Shields.

Released: 2019

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Free for members  |  $39 for nonmembers*


Operating Guidance for Independent School Pandemic Management

COVID-19 Field Guide

This comprehensive field guide outlines how independent school leaders can effectively manage their campuses during the COVID-19 pandemic. The thorough, yet accessible 150-page eBook details how to track, assess and adjust the full range of campus activities, including: communication, health screening policies, preventative measures, isolation and quarantine procedures, cleaning and disinfection, ventilation and plumbing, physical fitness, dining services, student activities, athletics, childcare, campus residences and more. Experts from Environmental Health & Engineering have drawn on scientific authorities as well as interviews with dozens of independent day and boarding schools to develop guidance that takes into account a range of school sizes, locations and populations while outlining best practices specific to independent schools. Special thanks to Fred C. Church Insurance for their generous financial support.

Released: 2020

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Free for members  |  $129 for nonmembers*

Note: This field guide is available to NBOA members as an eBook (rather than a direct download). Members will “purchase” the book for $0 and set up an account in the NBOA bookstore to access the eBook.


Supplement to Operating Guidance for Independent School Pandemic Management

This update covers the latest research on the spread of COVID-19 and virus variants, vaccines that protect against the virus, and practices to mitigate risk on school campuses. The supplement addresses major changes in the areas of program tracking, cleaning, classroom space and athletics, as well as smaller updates in other areas. Information is current as of mid-June 2021.

Released: 2021

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Free for members  |  Nonmembers receive the supplement when they purchase the original guide

* All sales are final. We are unable to issue refunds for print or e-books.