A Call to Action: Paying for Jewish Education

Across North America, the school year has either just begun, or will this coming week. Stories like the ones that follow are appearing all over. It is obvious short, and long, term financial needs will be on the agenda of many conferences and board meetings during the upcoming year.cover2

from The London Jewish Chronicle:

Schools struggle to stay open in US

Middle-class Jewish families, who until recently received very little aid, have struggled with day-school fees for years. Some, particularly liberal families, are considering switching to free state education.

Meanwhile, many schools are either badly run or simply too small to be viable. The financial crisis was the final blow. According to Steven Krauss of the Jewish Education Service of North America: “Maybe some of these schools shouldn’t have been open in the first place.”

Solutions have been varied. Some schools have merged campuses. Farsighted boards have cut costs and increased aid to parents.

from the Jewish Tribune (Canada):

Jewish day schools are feeling the pinch

The proportion of all Jewish youngsters in the GTA attending Jewish day schools, grades 1-12, stands at about 33 per cent, according to Howard English, vice-president, marketing and communications, UJA Federation of Greater Toronto.

“That kind of stability is very impressive, considering the economy, tuition costs and the closure of two day schools last year – She’arim [for learning disabled children, grades 1-8] and Ohr Menachem,” English said.

…As for resources, “we haven’t done massive across-the-board downsizing,” Landa [Arthur Landa, executive director of AHDS] remarked. “We have to justify to ourselves, probably more clearly than any time in the past 10 years, every expense. This has not resulted in any headline changes. We’ve had to create better synergies in our administrative environment – more a configuration than downsizing. We have not started some new programs that we might have in a strong economy.”

from the Jewish Exponent:

Numbers Speak for Themselves

Over the past year, six day schools across the country were forced to close their doors, battered by the economic downturn that overtook the country beginning last September.

But as the new academic year gets under way, enrollment in the Philadelphia area’s six Jewish day schools has remained virtually unchanged from last year, with an expected total of 1,769 students.

Still, financial challenges abound.

image: Jewish Exponent