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Sunday, May 21, 2006

Five Towns Tuition Tumult

Over the past year, I have been hearing a certain topic of conversation brought up time and again. I have heard it raised both amongs friends, family, and business associates; in real life and in the blogworld; at Shabbos tables, at the supermarket, and in restaraunts; and usually in anger and/or desperation. That topic is the rising cost of Yeshiva tuition.

And of late, what used to be a constant buzz of conversation seems to have reached a deafening roar in my neighborhood. The hysteria seems to have been precipitated by several occurences. Evidently, a local Yeshiva decided, without any sort of warning, to raise tuition by an exorbitant percentage - I have been told the raise was in the vicinity of 12% per child. Making things worse, the Yeshiva, apparently concerned about the effect the tution increase might have on certain struggling families, decided to extend an immediate tuition discount, reflected on their upcoming year's tuition bill, to certain families that they "felt could use a break". As this was a completely unscientific process, and as the administration of the Yeshiva has no concrete information as to the yearly salaries of most tuition-paying families, the decisionmaking process seems to have been so many shots in the dark. All of these decisions have caused nothing short of an uproar. First, the families who, without warning, received next year's expanded tuition bill in the mail, reflecting as much as thousands of dollars in increases for some large families, understandably upset many. Second, the fact that some families were said to have received a discount without having to even request it, and without any evident criteria as to who receives the discounts other than outward appearances as to how much money these families are making (which needless to say, can be very deceiving). Third, the fact that some people were extended the discount when they felt that they did not need it, or felt that others surely needed it more than them, created a situation where some who work hard to not have to require a tution break felt that their pride had been wounded by the overtures on the part of the Yeshiva to "give them a break".

All in all, the sequence of events have caused nothing short of an firestorm among those in my social circles.

I am not in a position to judge whether or not the Yeshiva needed to raise tuition. It is entirely possible that operating costs have risen to the tune of the increase reflected in the Yeshiva's tution bills. That said, it's impossible to know, due to the complete intransparency of the Yeshiva's finances, and therefore, the Yeshiva is relying on the parent body's trust in the their financial management. What I am seeing stirring in the Yeshiva-going community is very similar to the sentiments that caused the mutiny when it came to approving the budget in School District 15. People are losing faith in the Yeshiva administration as to whether their hard-earned dollars are being spent wisely. Unfortunately, there is no system of democracy in a Yeshiva. Whereas parents banded together and voted for their candidates and against the budget in the recent public school board elections, they don't have the same option when it comes to the board of their Yeshivas. And people are getting a little angry and resentful. Many seem to feel that the board is comprised of their unelected representatives, and that it makes decisions that affect the whole parent body, who by and large have no representation or methods of making their opinions heard. Another point I have heard countless times - most recently from the two couples, both parents in the Yeshiva, that I had lunch together with yesterday - is that the present board is represented heavily by people who live (Baruch Hashem) very comfortable, even lavish, lifestyles, and don't seem to be of the ilk that would feel the mark of a 12% tuition increase. As one of my guests stated "It's all well and good that the present board feels that a 12% tuition increase is in order, but maybe that's because for them, that means the difference between Chanel and Gucci. For us, it means decisons like whether we can afford to invite company over for Shavuos".

Many people also feel burned by the fact that they are paying the full increase so that other parents, who are possibly in the same or better financial position than them, can be spared paying the increase. I think people are comfortable with the fact that the Yeshiva way is for the "haves" to do everything in their financial ability to help the "have-nots" (or "have-lesses") be able to provide their children with a Yeshiva education. But when a parent who is more well-off is getting spared the increase that a struggling parent is being required to pay? Wouldn't it have made more sense to halve the increase, and apply it across the board? Or, to send out the tuition bills with the full 12% increase reflected on the bill, and make a notation on the bottom of the bill informing any families who feel that the increase is too steep to handle that they should feel free to contact the Yeshiva's financial office? Or to extend a credit or discount to families for each additional child attending the Yeshiva, as many other institutions do? There must have been a better way to handle the proposed increase than simply springing it on parents in this uneven and surprising manner.

Actions like this are simply going to create a situation where the so-called "tuition crisis" is going to be felt even more keenly by the some of the most hardworking, productive, dues-paying members of our community. And you know what? It just isn't fair.

198 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with your points overall. But to those who are frustrated with the decisions of the board, maybe it is time to volunteer to serve on a yeshiva board rather than just griping about their every decision and calling them a bunch of fat cats. Maybe they are wrong, but they are taking time they could be spending with their families and giving of themselves to help the yeshiva. If the response is, "the board is only for the rich," my response is, "have you ever tried to volunteer and join?" The yeshiva tutiton matter is indeed a crisis, and the board may well be out of touch, but the "us versus them" mentality will do nothing to ameliorate this serious problem. We need more parents to become involved and invested in their children's education.

12:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...



I agree with your points overall. But to those who are frustrated with the decisions of the board, maybe it is time to volunteer to serve on a yeshiva board rather than just griping about their every decision and calling them a bunch of fat cats


This board is by invitation only

12:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Most yeshiva boards are by invitation only.

12:23 PM  
Anonymous Concernedcitizen said...

Orthoomom
Id like to know why the largest school in this district was not contacted about what services they get or dont get from the public school system.
How can any candidate be a serious one, with consulting the largest orthodox school in the district?

12:30 PM  
Blogger Still Wonderin' said...

"For us, it means decisons like whether we can afford to invite company over for Shavuos"."

Good god!! What are people spending in order to invite company for Shavuoth?

(...and how can I get invited to their house? Shavuoth there sounds positively lavish)

12:40 PM  
Blogger joel rich said...

While ther may be some truth that boards look for the well off (as Willie Sutton said -that's where the money is) it's also true that there are individuals who don't want to volunteer there time but expect to have the same weight in decision making as those who give generously of their time or money. In general, that's not how organizations work. If one is really interested in having an impact, they need to make the investment (no way to guarantee that you will have an impact but that's the way to get to the table)
KT

12:49 PM  
Anonymous Somewhat Anonymous said...

I'm uneasy with the idea of yeshivas having to open up their books to the public. This would give an opening for all sorts of complaining and nitpicking over all sorts of little details, even if things were 100% kosher and efficiently run. As we've seen from many people who comment on this site (not you, OM) there are those who will sieze on any possible thing to attack and slander the rabbonim and administrators who run our community institutions.

That being said, it is very important that the school's spend money wisely and efficiently, in order to try and limit costs. I think that the schools should (as some have done) make use of an outside auditor or financial advisor who can give ideas for lowering costs, and add a level of oversight that improves public confidence in the school's spending.

This is obviously not a perfect solution, but I think it is a reasonable compromise that serves to address some of the legitimate concerns of tuition paying parents.

12:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This school has a bunch of spoiled rich kids on the board, who have no concept of what it means to "earn" a living. And the Yeshiva does not hide the fact that they cater to them. But that seems to be the way of the frum/yeshivish world. I guess we should be happy they are not harboring any child molesters?!?!?

12:59 PM  
Anonymous Somewhat Anonymous said...

"As we've seen from many people who comment on this site (not you, OM) there are those who will sieze on any possible thing to attack and slander the rabbonim and administrators who run our community institutions." - Me at 12:59

"This school has a bunch of spoiled rich kids on the board, who have no concept of what it means to "earn" a living. And the Yeshiva does not hide the fact that they cater to them." - Anon at 12:59

I rest my case.

1:02 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

Somewhat Anon -
I don't disagree that there will always be people who will sieze any opportunity to bash or attack or slander people. But that doesn't mean that the rest of us shouldn't just ignore them and attempt to continue with some productive dialogue.

1:08 PM  
Anonymous Somewhat Anonymous said...

OM - I agree that the issue of high tuitions and what to do about them should be discussed, as it is an important issue. My point was an objection to the idea (or demand) that the Yeshivas should open up their books (and the implication that there is something nefarious to be found).

1:15 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

My point was an objection to the idea (or demand) that the Yeshivas should open up their books (and the implication that there is something nefarious to be found).

I didn't say that the books should necessarily be opened up. What I am saying is that due to the intransparency, the parent bodies of Yeshivas are being asked to put their trust in the boards and administrators of said Yeshivas that they are doing everything they cnm to stretch the tuition-paying public's dollars. If, through decisions like the ones I outlined in this post, the parent bodies of Yeshivas begin to lose trust in their administrators, we have a problem. And that is what we are seeing here. The Yeshiva is telling parents that they need to shell out yet more of their hard-earned money to give their kids a Jewish education. At the same time, they perform actions that give the parents the notion that they simply don't have anough respect for the parents or their hard work. The uproar that I heard in shul yesterday is the undortunate result.

1:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great analysis, OM.

1:20 PM  
Blogger Somewhat Anonymous said...

Yay - official logon!

Anyhow, I was not taking issue with anything you said/wrote, Orthmom. I agree with you that is crucial for yeshiva administrators to have the confidence of the parent body. Opening up the books is one of the oft-mentioned ideas for dealing with this problem, and I just wanted to point out why I felt this wasn't a great idea. I'm quite curious myself as to what the yeshivas' budgets look like, as I'll be experiencing the joys of tution payments starting in February.

OM - what do you think of the idea (in my original post) of having an outside auditor or advisor involved in the process? Would this boost your confidence in the fiscal management of the school? Any reasons why this wouldn't work or be a good idea?

1:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is just an example of what has been a fact for decades.the jewish religion has been hijacked by mafioso in homburgs and kapotas.

1:43 PM  
Blogger thekvetcher said...

in satmar we dont have these tuition problems and we never cut back on hachnosos orchim.. maybe you should consider coming to williamsburg for yomtov.

1:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Somewhat Anon....should we assume that you get a 12% raise in your salary every year? That's wonderful for you that you can afford these raises and you blindly trust the way the yeshiva is spending the money. I for one believe otherwise.

The point of Anon 12:59 and I believe Orthomoms is that some of us feel the Board of the yeshiva is being run by some out of touch with reality individuals. Call it bashing if you wish.

1:46 PM  
Blogger eem said...

I'm with somewhat. Now how can it become a real riterion for the schools?

1:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Today a Yeshiva is a business---and nothing else. No one in Yeshiva administration wants to feel that they work there because they couldn' find a job in any other industry---which is usually the case. There is no longer any mesiras nefesh to teach children Torah. It's how much can we get paid, how much vacation do we get, how about raises, 401(k), better health insurance and then they can begin thinking about how your child is doing in school.

1:56 PM  
Blogger YMedad said...

The *real* world is the blog world.

1:56 PM  
Anonymous struggling said...

The tuition crisis is a tricky one. Because while tuition skyrockets every year, inflation, real estate, and cost-of-living budgets are also soaring.

Many schools are in severe trouble trying to keep up with rising rents (if they lease the building), rising heating, gas, and electric bills, and also the obligation to pay their teachers. And take it from me - they pay their teachers badly and infrequently. It's not uncommon for a Yeshiva teacher to have their paycheck come late by a matter of MONTHS. (I know firsthand)

This all makes sense. If we can somehow understand that OUR bills suddenly got a whole lot higher, we should only expect that the Yeshiva bills got that much higher as well. I really do feel for the administration, who must feel completely at a loss of what to do about the situation. Plus, rising tuition costs have a negative effect on other school fundraisers - people aren't willing to donate as much to the chinese auction or the banquet if they feel they've been hung out to dry from tuition. So the school loses out anyway.

However. Tuition costs are ridiculous. My husband and I joke that we are paying to send our child to Harvard, OVER and OVER again, and he's only in kindergarten! There must be some other ways for the school to get funds. The financial consultant idea is a good one. I also wonder why, when Purim comes around, we feel obligated to give thousands of dollars to yeshivas from other cities, of which we know very little, when schools in our own backyards are drowning in debt.

Also, there are extremely intelligent parents in the school. Perhaps use some of them (for reduced tuition rates) to apply for grants from the government. Or to at least apply to get a rebate on their energy costs.

Surely we can come up with other ideas to try and raise money for the school, rather than hurt the parent body over and over again.

2:16 PM  
Blogger Somewhat Anonymous said...

Anon 1:46 - If I haven't made it clear enough in my previous comments, I think that the high cost of tuition is an important issue and a problem in our community. What I don't agree with is the idea that high tuitions are a result of yeshiva administrators acting in bad faith or not caring about the impact on the community.

I thought OM's point was more that they were acting in a tone-deaf fashion in the manner in which they went about things. I don't think (correct me if I'm wrong here OM) that she was saying that she believes the increase was unnecessary.

Anon 1:56 - So you believe that the yeshivos are being run by selfish incompetents? I have more faith in them than you do, but what is your proposal to fix the system then?

2:16 PM  
Blogger BARBARIANFROMCALIFORNIA said...

the is a special place in hell for school administrators.

2:23 PM  
Blogger Still Wonderin' said...

"BARBARIANFROMCALIFORNIA said...
the is a special place in hell for school administrators."


Regardless of where we all stand on this issue, I hope no one here truly agrees with the above statement. It isn't a fair thing to say.

2:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Barbaian is right - but the special place in hell is for the Bloggers that cause such animosity

3:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

concered citizen said ..
"Orthoomom
Id like to know why the largest school in this district was not contacted about what services they get or dont get from the public school system.
How can any candidate be a serious one, with consulting the largest orthodox school in the district?"


Every single yeshiva in the district as well as those in the surrounding are which service children from the district, were contacted in the course of the election campaign to solicit their insight and concerns.

I was present at a meeting to which all of them were invited and which was attended by representatives from just about every one of them.

3:42 PM  
Blogger SephardiLady said...

The act of raising tuition and giving AUTOMATIC tuition discounts based on lack of knowledge was an act of poor judgment.

If I lived in the 5Towns, I would be organizing for a complete overthrow. That alone is outrageous!

To raise tuitions like that after applications have been submitted is also outrageous.

I agree with Orthomom that there is little to no transperancy and there is an increasing lack of trust.

If we are ever going to turn the situation around and promote community ownership in the schools through increased support, it is imperative to increase trust in the institutions we give our hard earned tzedakah dollars and tuition dollars to.

Policies like this are extremely shortsighted.

Another great post. I will have to link to this post. It really demonostrates the severity of the situation that we are facing (on all fronts)!

4:11 PM  
Anonymous mycroft said...

I may comment on this blog later-but frankly I am more upset right now about another %T Issue involving tuitions and day schools. You see this afternoon I was at a levayah of a 16 year old who died suddenly and apparently was upset lately losing his friends etc. The boy for a niumber of years was a student at one of our mainstream yeshivas/day schools. He had as one maspid said a lev tov-unfortunately God did not grant him the best of academic talents so for HS- "lev"was not interested in him and went to various programs for "at risk". As the father said at the levayah we should have a generation where we don't treat people "at risk".
The problem in the community is going to get worse-another Yeshiva/day school which was known to be much mre tolerant will have new HS administrators who were known not to be tolerant of teenage behavior. They previously ran a boys only HS-they always treated the A classes well but not the B classes. Thus, there are parents who would send their more academically astute kids to that school but not their less academically endowed siblings. Now of course they are in charge of this much larger HS and they are beginnjing to cull and make offers that can't be met to kids who have been in the same school system for as much as 12-14 years. Thus they can raise standards-nobody is concerned about those who can't meet their standards.

4:18 PM  
Blogger Somewhat Anonymous said...

Mycroft - The issue of "at-risk" kids is a particularly tough and heartbreaking one, more so than even the tuition issue, with no easy answers. Kicking a child out of school is unlikely to have a positive effect, and can lead to a downward spiral that ends tragically (as we saw today). That being said - what can a yeshiva do with a rebellious student? What does it say to the rest of the student body when a kid who is violating the yeshiva's standards (pick one: smoking, involved with girls, pot, hard drugs, hanging out with druggies, etc.) is allowed to stay. This kid will have friends who he will influence if allowed to stay. Is it not better to kick out one kid than to have three more ruin their lives because of him?

I don't really have any answers here (or on the tuition thing really), but the issues are sufficiently complex that problems shouldn't be simply attributed to the incompetence or evil of school administrators or Rebbeim.

4:46 PM  
Anonymous usually anonymous said...

"I'm uneasy with the idea of yeshivas having to open up their books to the public."

Why shouldn't the yeshivas be held to the same high standards being held for the public schools? There has been a voter backlash against perceived inappropriate expenditures in the public schools. People,understandably, want their taxes lowered. Well, don't people also want properly run yeshivas, and possibly lower tutition? Maybe I'm showing my ignorance, but I don't understand why the expenditures should be reviewed in the public schools only.

5:16 PM  
Blogger Somewhat Anonymous said...

As residents of the disctrict we are taxed, against our will, in order to provide funding for the public schools. As such, the books need to be opened so we can see how our money is being spent and vote accordingly. With privatge schools, parents can just opt out or send to another school if they are unhappy with the school they are at, so the books need not be opened.

5:28 PM  
Anonymous Helene said...

Orthomom, You and Sephardi Lady are constantly lamenting the high costs of Yeshiva tuitions. How fast can spell H-O-M-E-S-C-H-O-O-L-I-N-G? This is a win-win situation for everyone! You can have your kids with you to educate as YOU see fit and believe me, it DOES NOT cost nearly what one year's tuition at Yeshiva does. Your kids have the benefit of being with those whom they most love. Your family will grow closer and more tightly knit. Your kids will live their lives outside of a classroom with 30+ others born in the same calendar year and whom live in the same zipcode. Homeschooling allows you to fully integrate Judaism/Limudei Kodesh into your daily lives. Homeschooling was a first choice educational option for us. It "worked" out beyond our wildest expectations. 13+ yrs. of day school tuition buys a LOT of music lessons, books, family vacations, ability to entertain guests, etc. etc. And regarding another one of your postings, I have no fear that my child will be molested by his Rav or any other significant other adult! Thanks for your postings.

5:48 PM  
Anonymous Harry Miller said...

I know of quite a few families who have sent their kids to local publics schools. Hewlett & Lawrence HS have a "kippah club". Thay have since graduated and have become part of "klal yisroel" and have had no truoble getting a "shidduch" or integrating into mainstream 5T life.

5:52 PM  
Anonymous mycroft said...

." Kicking a child out of school is unlikely to have a positive effect, and can lead to a downward spiral that ends tragically (as we saw today). That being said - what can a yeshiva do with a rebellious student? What does it say to the rest of the student body when a kid who is violating the yeshiva's standards (pick one: smoking, involved with girls, pot, hard drugs, hanging out with druggies, etc.) is allowed to stay"

I am not alking about rebellious kids-which is a very complex problem-I'm talking about those who are marginal students-may fail some Regents etc-they won't be gdolei Israel but does that mean you kick em out of Yeshiva/day schools?
As I pointed out it is not the rebellion even if expressed as such it is in reality in most case academic ability. They don't want to say it-but when was the last time a Westinghouse/Seimens scholar was kicked out for behavior-the same normal teenage behavior would be the excuse to kick out a marginal student. After all in Open Houses then you can brag about your graduates all going to college-left unsaid is the dropout rate.

6:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Try this, assume 200 5 towns families spend $12,000 a year on Pesach Vacation = $2,400,000, thats being conservative. Then take the amount raised for various Chassidish Rebbes, then add the frequent trips to their favorite Mekubel in Israel to solve their business problems, add in the various overdone simchas, the nannys, the amount given to Kiruv all over the world when we have a kids at risk problem, a tutition crisis, and we are trying to figure out why the tuitions are too high. True, some wealthy people in the Neighborhood help out the Yeshivas, but I think everyone know who the gazillionaires are in this and every other neighborhood. Is there any wonder there are kids at risk, we dont take enough care of our kids education. While plenty of people are living real well, and those who cant afford 7k tuition wont afford 10k either, its the middle class that are getting hit. And $200k a year in the 5 towns is middle class. The Yeshiva should have surpluses after 5 years of a real estate boom, not a deficit. What will they do in a recession

6:34 PM  
Anonymous mycroft said...

"Thay have since graduated and have become part of "klal yisroel" and have had no truoble getting a "shidduch" or integrating into mainstream 5T life."

Unless they come from very wealthy background-I don't believe it. Of course, money dwarfs everything in these circles "bakeseph yaaneh hakol"

"I know of quite a few families who have sent their kids to local publics schools. "

I know some too over the decades and sadly see very few who are "frum" today.

6:38 PM  
Anonymous mycroft said...

"And $200k a year in the 5 towns is middle class"

Many in the 5T's-which include Hewlett-not Hewlett Harbor,Inwood, Cedarhurst earn less than $200K.

6:43 PM  
Anonymous mycroft said...

"How fast can spell H-O-M-E-S-C-H-O-O-L-I-N-G? This is a win-win situation for everyone! You can have your kids with you to educate as YOU see fit and believe me, it DOES NOT cost nearly what one year's tuition at Yeshiva does. Your kids have the benefit of being with those whom they most love"

A major purpose of yeshiva education is to socialize the kids with similar people-it is not merely the learning of information. HOMESCHOOLING would not help the problem.

6:46 PM  
Blogger Somewhat Anonymous said...

Mycroft - I agree with you that kids should not be kicked out for poor academic performance, and its disturbing if that is what is happening. This was not my experience however. In my (not too distant) high school years, the only people who were kicked out were for behavioral issues (including some of the ones I listed above). People who failed multiple regents were allowed to stay.

I agree with you (Mycroft) on public schools though - I remember when sending a jewish kid to public school was spoken of as a horrific thing that must be prevented - and I find the recent talk of it as an option quite surreal.

6:58 PM  
Blogger SephardiLady said...

Helene-I know plenty of people (Jews and non-Jews) who are homeschooled or have homeschooled at one point in time.

It is a wonderful solution for some individuals. But, it is NOT a solution for the masses and even if we do homeschool at some point, I think that as a member of the Orthodox community, that I have a duty to be concerned about providing a Jewish education for the other people in my community. (Just like I believe that as a US Citizen, it is my duty to vote for competent school board members and pay taxes to provide free public schooling for American children).

7:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OM I don't think you have much of a point here. Private school tuitions are going up all over the country for Jew and Gentile alike. If you can't afford it or have other priorities, then don't send your kids. But don't complain that you have to pay for something. Of course the discounts were handled in a tacky manner in that particular school.

8:21 PM  
Blogger SephardiLady said...

Anon-Pardon me for speaking for Orthomom. She is launching perfectly valide criticism about:

1. The fact that the HUGE increase was announced after parents have submitted their enrollment applications.

2. The fact that discounts were made automatically, haphazardly, and without information regarding household income, etc.

The community is absolutely correct to be up in arms.

8:30 PM  
Blogger Still Wonderin' said...

Talking about at risk kids and apropos regarding the 16 year old who died last night, there's a very interesting essay on the front page of this week's Jewish Press. It goes in depth to the origins and solutions of the at-risk problem.

http://www.jewishpress.com/page.do/17920/A_Decade_At%2DRisk.html

9:52 PM  
Blogger BARBARIANFROMCALIFORNIA said...

still wondering ,there is an at risk problem cause of the school admins. now you know why there is a special place in hell for them.

10:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The problem is that GOVERNMENT is not participating in the cost of Yeshiva tuition. The best shot that we had for relief this year was killed by SHELDON SILVER (the "frum" speaker of the assembly). What is the consequence for his behavior?: I am told that Agudath Israel, the body that supposedly represents our community, gave Shelly an award tonight at their annual dinner. Glad to know that they feel our pain. Even gladder that I didn't attend this event. If we all boycotted Augdah's dinners maybe they would start adovcating on behalf of the community instead of rewarding the "savior" of the teacher's unions. Besides, we'd have more to spend on the tuition hike. So the next time a community organization honors one of our "friends," feel free to boycott with your checkbook.

11:42 PM  
Anonymous mycroft said...

"If you can't afford it or have other priorities, then don't send your kids"

As one who has paid full tuition for over a decade to a 5T Day School/Yeshiva don't give mussar to other people that they can afford the tuition.

"The problem is that GOVERNMENT is not participating in the cost of Yeshiva tuition. "

Under current US Constitutional Law and even more so under NYS Constitutional law the State can not aid religious schools-other than for certain minor mandated activities-attendance records-I believe is one.

12:20 AM  
Blogger Still Wonderin' said...

"BARBARIANFROMCALIFORNIA said...
still wondering ,there is an at risk problem cause of the school admins. now you know why there is a special place in hell for them."

you're not being specific. i still know you feel this way but not why.

12:21 AM  
Anonymous mycroft said...

"I agree with you that kids should not be kicked out for poor academic performance, and its disturbing if that is what is happening. This was not my experience however. In my (not too distant) high school years, the only people who were kicked out were for behavioral issues (including some of the ones I listed above). People who failed multiple regents were allowed to stay."
As someone who knows who both and Orthomom me are told me-(I have no idea who Orthomom is)
he believes and it is probably true that the more chareidi institutions are less tolerant of deviation on behavior and the moreMO institutions tend to be less tolerant of academic failure.

12:25 AM  
Anonymous mycroft said...

"BARBARIANFROMCALIFORNIA said...
still wondering ,there is an at risk problem cause of the school admins. now you know why there is a special place in hell for them."

you're not being specific. i still know you feel this way but not why. "
I am not Barbarian from California-maybe for some Narbarian from somewhere else-I don't know Gods cheshbonot as to who goes to hell-But I have a tough time imagining a God who wants his knowledge to be limited to a meritocracy. Those who can't get don't belong under kanfei hashchina-I can't accept. There are certainly day school administrators who act as if that is true.

12:30 AM  
Blogger queeniesmom said...

Now that one yeshiva has seen fit to do this, how many others will follow suit under the guise that we're the same as....(insert a school name). This is the rational for the price point at one 5T yeshiva. Amazing how most of the yeshivot are similiarly priced. Also the amount charged seems to be in direct proportion to the quality of the secular subjects taught.

Re: homeschooling
I could but don't as it wouldn't be in my kids best interests. Maybe it is for your kids but please stop the vitriol as it isn't an option for many and begs the question at hand.

Mycroft - I'm so sorry for the family and for you as this must have been very heartbreaking.

We all need to look at what we are doing to our children that we now have so many kids at risk. Are we demanding too much of our children? Demanding they be the best, the brightest, etc. Have we become so intolerant of those who are less than perfect, less gifted or maybe don't quite fit the mold that these kids are now "at risk"? Maybe it is all of us that needs to change, not the child?

When I have questioned the amount of HW that my oldest has, in elementary school, I'm told just wait until middle and HS, besides all the yeshivas give this much. To what end? What are we trying to prove? No one has given me a salient answer. All I know is that the Honors students in the public HS that I teach, a decent LI district, have sometimes less HW or a similiar amount of HW as my elementary school child does.

One yeshiva HS that was more inclusive has been bad mouthed by many as a lousy school and is now struggling to hold on since they are loosing students. Loss of students = money problems for the school. I'm sure they will have a tuition hike and so the vicious circle begins. Wher does it end?

I don't see an end in sight, just ever increasing tuition bills that I hope I can keep paying.

1:25 AM  
Blogger queeniesmom said...

Mycroft -

Under NYS law religious/private schools are entitled to money for transportation to and from school, although the overall distance may not exceed the maxium milage (I think it's 15 miles). Money for secular books, again not to exceed a set dollar amount. The students are entitled to special education services. How these services are implimented and where they are implimented are up to the various districts' interpritation of the Separation of Church and State Laws. Hence 2 different districts will deliver services in 2 totally different manners. Hope this helped.

1:34 AM  
Anonymous mycroft said...

Under NYS law religious/private schools are entitled to money for transportation to and from school, although the overall distance may not exceed the maxium milage (I think it's 15 miles). Money for secular books, again not to exceed a set dollar amount. The students are entitled to special education services. How these services are implimented and where they are implimented are up to the various districts' interpritation of the Separation of Church and State Laws. Hence 2 different districts will deliver services in 2 totally different manners. Hope this helped.

1:34 AM

I believe that it it is technically the students who are entitled to these services under NYS Law-thus the School District could give out the books and ask for the return by student from a central warehouse,
It is the students who receive busing not the school-I believe it makes a big deal constitutionally.

4:55 AM  
Anonymous mycroft said...

" I'm so sorry for the family and for you as this must have been very heartbreaking"

It is heartbraking for the family-I attended the levayah am not related.

"We all need to look at what we are doing to our children that we now have so many kids at risk. Are we demanding too much of our children? Demanding they be the best, the brightest, etc. Have we become so intolerant of those who are less than perfect, less gifted or maybe don't quite fit the mold that these kids are now "at risk"? Maybe it is all of us that needs to change, not the child?"
Agree 100%

"When I have questioned the amount of HW that my oldest has, in elementary school, I'm told just wait until middle and HS, besides all the yeshivas give this much. To what end? What are we trying to prove? No one has given me a salient answer. All I know is that the Honors students in the public HS that I teach, a decent LI district, have sometimes less HW or a similiar amount of HW as my elementary school child does."
Says it all -
BTW for wjat end most of the kids are not going to make their living from academic materials bery few go to Harvard for example. Last year for example 2 LI Jewish HS students got admitted to Harvard-one went one deferred went toIsrael.=sourceLI Harvard Alumni Ass.

"One yeshiva HS that was more inclusive has been bad mouthed by many as a lousy school and is now struggling to hold on since they are loosing students. Loss of students = money problems for the school. I'm sure they will have a tuition hike and so the vicious circle begins. Wher does it end?"
Is that the one that just hired new administration from a school less than a mile down the street?
If so, so of course, get rid of your existing students who you had no problem for 12-14 years amd whocares-they aren't going to Harvard!!!

5:04 AM  
Blogger Somewhat Anonymous said...

Why should getting students into Harvard (Undergrad) and the like be a major goal for our yeshivas anyhow? There's nothing wrong with Queens (and its MUCH cheaper for those of you so worried about tuition) or YU.

Mycroft - as you intuited, I did go to a "more charedi" institution. I find it very disturbing that any Yeshiva or Day School would kick a kid out because of academic performance. Scholastic achievement is nice, but the primary goal of our yeshivas is to bring up and educate our children to be proper Torah-abiding Jews, and only children who are an impediment to the yiddishkeit of their classmates through their behavior should EVER be kicked out.

6:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Greedy from all ends....failing budgets to keep an extra $20/year in your pocket...running schools like a high priced country club....

7:56 AM  
Anonymous Jewish dreamer said...

We Orthodox Jews are our own worst enemies. What we need to do is create a Kehilla in large territories which would parallel governmental structures. All Jewish schools (Yes, those you approve of and those you don't) would be allotted per capita student funds from the Kehilla's Board of Education. Taxation of all members of the Kehilla of a progressive nature would replace all tuition. I know some people cheat on the government taxes that would have to be the basis for the Kehilla assessment;nonetheless, this would result in a far better system of dealing with the problem. Finally, I know I am just dreaming. Go back and read my first sentence.

8:12 AM  
Blogger David said...

I didn't see a solid argument against transparency in accounting. A Yeshiva (like a shul) is a non-profit entity, which does have to file tax returns to the IRS. What exactly would be wrong with publishing statistics about numbers of students, numbers receiving financial aid, etc?

I don't think that there is necessarily anything nefarious in the yeshiva budgets or expenditures - but until they're public, the suspicion will remain. Transparency is a credibility-building tool.

8:19 AM  
Blogger queeniesmom said...

Mycroft -

You are correct that the bussing and books are for the student but the schools count on these books as money they don't have to spend. The issue becomes what is called "comsumables", eg workbooks. Who pays for these? Unless the district uses them as part of their program, rarely are they supplied to the Yeshiva as they aren't essential. The math textbook is essential but the workbook isn't, so this why kids don't write in their workbooks or these books are being copied. We won't go into copyright infringement issues.

Re: More inclusive school
Isn't the one in the 5T, though it is a MO Yeshiva. I know about it because we're feeling it at the elementary level as there is a growing deficit.

Re: Harvard
They don't want our kids. Just look what happened at Princton a few years ago vis a vis dorming vs living of campus. More important question is do you want your kid there? Paying for it should be interesting after years of escallating yeshiva tuition.

Public college is an excellent choice and probably more reality based for most of us. So our schools need to get with it but then it wouldn't make for great ads in the various papers - Congratulations to our gradsuates who went to ....

Our collective mindset needs to change then matbe we won't have so many at risk kids. just think less at risk kids, less organizations asking for money for them. Maybe some of this money can go towards tuition. Radical concept I know.

8:22 AM  
Blogger SephardiLady said...

I agree with Jewish Dreamer that we are our own worst enemy.

8:26 AM  
Blogger orthomom said...



I don't think that there is necessarily anything nefarious in the yeshiva budgets or expenditures - but until they're public, the suspicion will remain. Transparency is a credibility-building tool.


I'll tell you what I see as the argument against full transparency to the entire parent body. Anyone who has been invovled to any extent in a Yeshiva knows that there are always going to be "troublemaking parents". If the books are completely open, who doesn't have visions of parents coming into the offices of the Yeshiva administrators, waving the budget information, and demanding that this or that secretary, program, or trip be eliminated? That would not be helpful. I do think, however, that the suggestion upthread by Somewhat Anonymous that the schools should open their books to an independent auditor to be a good one. The auditor's suggestions could then be made public and implemented. That would go a long way toward convincing parents that their hard-earned dollars are being spent wisely.

8:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is it possible the Yeshiva needs to increase tuition to pay for all the new principals to replace the one that is leaving?

9:03 AM  
Blogger Still Wonderin' said...

The Ashkenazi yeshivas are facing a crisis larger than they even realize. The Sephardim have woken up over the last decade to recognize the imperative of investing in education. They have the means to do so and will soon become a dominant force in Jewish education. The Ashkenazi schools will suffer because they have not invested sufficiently in a talent pool suitable to replace the gurus the sephardim are hiring and will continue to hire away. Mark my words.

9:41 AM  
Anonymous MRN said...

Regarding the 16 year old who was niftar, are we to believe from these comments that he did the unthinkable?

Regarding the scholarships for people who 'deserve a break', that is utterly reprehensible. That board needs a complete overhaul.

Regarding homeschooling, not every family can homeschool for limudei kodesh. Certainly, not a family which still has young children or a baby at home. A yeshiva is a yeshiva. One's house is not a yeshiva although it can be a day school.

It's a shame that a few individuals, rich or not, have been able to co-opt this school board. The five towns is in a unique situation as some of the richest Jews in America live there next to hundreds of hard-working middle-class families. Too bad they weren't convinced to give their maaser money to the local school so that tuitions could remain constant for everyone.

10:01 AM  
Anonymous MRN said...

To the very first anonymous poster: yes I have tried to volunteer to join our school's board. I was told to "join the PTA and prove myself". Funny, none of the men on the board (the entire board save two women) has ever been on the PTA. I'm not sure how organizing a bake sale would prove what getting an MBA from a top business school or working at an investment bank for seven years hasn't already proved.

10:06 AM  
Anonymous YDT parent said...

Great post. I don't think it's possible to overestimate the anger this has been causing in certain neighborhoods. In my own neighborhood of Cedarhurst, the standards of who recieved the discounts seems gto have been applied in a very spotty way. People who certainly make more money than their neighbor got a discount, while the neighbor did not.

And you have to understand, the message that the Yeshiva sent out when someone asked them why they didn't get a discount was something like "you are welcome to come in front of the tuition committee to plead your case". Well, if shmerel didn't have to, then why do I? If Shmerel didn't have to discl;ose his salary, expenses, and his vacation schedule, why do I?

I assume that very few recieved the discount in Lawrence, but Ipresume that Far Rockaway has similar issues to Cedarhurst.

The biggest problem with this stunt is that it is splitting the paremt body. The paremt body is already split down Yeshivish/non-Yeshivish lines. (That split roughly corelates to the split between full-tuition/non-full-tuition paying families). There are already tensions between the two groups, especially since Darchei continues to honor the "Yeshivish" (many not paying full tuition) parent's requests to separate their kids out into separate classes from the "Non-Yeshivish" (i.e., cedarhurst, Woodmere, Lawrence tuition-paying community) because they worry that their heilege Far Rockaway souls will be sullied by the 5Townsers kids' souls. So now we have non-tuition paying heiliges, full-tuiotion paying non-heiliges, and discounted-tuition non-heilges.


I have a headache.

10:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How can the YDT admimistration looks themselves in the mirror is the biggest question!?!?!!!

10:34 AM  
Blogger treppenwitz said...

Which is one of many reasons we moved to Israel. :-)

You gotta love universal healthcare and free tuition to religious public schools (not to mention University tuition that is still under $5,000 a year!).

10:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are clearly many issues that need to raised and addressed and it's unfortunate that those individuals in the community who have the necessary influence to accomplish this, have not taken the initiative.

We are fortunate to live in a free society, where our ideas cannot be stifled. We are fortunate to have a local newspaper which is read by all in the community and will take an interest in these issues.

Every individual who shares these concerns should now write a letter to the editor of the five towns jewish times (editor@5tjt.com) with our without their name (I have seen many letters submitted anonymously in the past) to raise these concerns and issues, offer suggestions and to ensure there is no one in the community in an influential position who can turn his/her back on them.

10:59 AM  
Anonymous just another jewish accountant said...

Transparency is needed on both sides. The schools should provide at least an 'annual report' outlining major income categories (tuition, fundraising, etc.) and major expenses (salaries-limudei kodesh, salaries-limudei chol, facility maintenance, security, administrative salaries, etc.) if nothing else, this will prevent some of the assumptions that are currently made about poor management. It doesnt help the situation for us to blame the schools, and it seems to be in the schools best interest to provide an accounting to the parent body, so that we can all be comfortable knowing where our tuition dollars are going.

We also should require transparency from families requesting tuition discounts. The process should not be humiliating or burdensome, but should be consistent across the board. Tuition breaks should not be given based on assumptions of the families ability to pay. I know its not common, but imagine if a family looks like they need help with tuition only because they make chinuch a priority, and have chosen to forgo things that they consider luxeries. Just because they have decided to step out of the race to keep up with the steins, doesnt mean they necessarily need (or want) a tuition break.

I had a conversation in shul with another parent last year who told me she is putting her kids in a different school becuase they required less paperwork to give her a scholarship. I nearly fell through the floor. If there is nothing to hide, why would providing a tax return be a problem? I didnt hesitate to ask her that, and she was not embarrassed to tell me she felt "entitled" to a tuition break. unfortunately that element does exist in every community, and only further aggrevates an already tough sitation

Regarding having a financial consultant oversee the budget, etc. That is the job of the Board. It is the job of the Board to look out for the best interest of the stakeholders of the school. That includes overseeing the financial management of the school. Unfortunately, it seems that too many boards have forgotten that the parent-body of the school is their largest stakeholder.

Our children's chinuch needs to be priority #1. Ours, the schools, the teachers and the Boards.

11:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a public school parent I find it funny how you guys are squirming in your pants b/c of these tuition hikes.

Now you now how public school parents feel when the budget gets voted down and the cuts their kids are going to face.

The difference with you guys is that this is always an economic issue.

Are you getting what you pay for?

12:09 PM  
Anonymous ydt parent said...

As a public school parent I find it funny how you guys are squirming in your pants b/c of these tuition hikes.

Now you now how public school parents feel when the budget gets voted down and the cuts their kids are going to face.

The difference with you guys is that this is always an economic issue.

Are you getting what you pay for?


Well we are definitely getting more of what we pay for. The question with the public school budget was whether the highest per/student spending was worth poor test results. In the Public Schools, we are talking around $25,000 in per/student spending. In the Yeshivas, even if you take into account the fcat that full tuition-paying parents might be subsidizing parents that are receiving a break, we are still talking about a tuition cost of between $10,000 and $15,000. So come back to me when the District #15 Public School spending is more in line with almost every other public AND private school out there. Then we can talk about getting our money's worth.

12:23 PM  
Anonymous YDT Board Member said...

As one of my guests stated "It's all well and good that the present board feels that a 12% tuition increase is in order, but maybe that's because for them, that means the difference between Chanel and Gucci. For us, it means decisons like whether we can afford to invite company over for Shavuos".

That is a very harsh characterization of the board, OM. I would go so far as to call it a mischaracterization.

12:26 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...



That is a very harsh characterization of the board, OM. I would go so far as to call it a mischaracterization.


First, I made it clear that it was not my characterization. I was discussion the perceptions of the makeup of the board that I have been hearing in the community.

Second, whether we are talking about designer labels or not, to say that the lifestyle of the vast majority of the board memebers is not out of touch with the vast majority of the school's parent body is either disingenuous or completely clueless.

12:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"As a public school parent I find it funny how you guys are squirming in your pants b/c of these tuition hikes.

Now you now how public school parents feel when the budget gets voted down and the cuts their kids are going to face."


The current public school board (along with the past boards) has done little to improve teacher performance or student performance. At this point, teacher performance and student performance can only improve. Why do you continue fighting it? At lease wait till the new board has had a chance to effect change, before saying "I told you so."

As a public school parent, you have closely watched the public schools decay, and you've been too "proud" to hold the right people accountable. (Yes, the system was decaying long before the budget was voted down.) You should be ashamed of yourself for having sat idly and for resorting to useless finger-pointing (at the private school community) for the past few years, rather than expecting results from the school board and the district's administration and teachers. Lucky for everyone, this doesn't need to be debated any further, since the shift on the board will provide the long overdue resolve and dedication to focus on all of the issues.

12:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Which Yeshiva raised tuition 12%? I know Haftr raised it 6% this week. This is the second year that Haftr raised it 6%. Good luck to evryone.

1:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

YDT

1:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I do not live in the Five Towns, however, I have been following this entry with great interest.

For a brief period of time I was an "adviser" to my local yeshivah. (I was not an official board member since I could not meet the required annual contribution to be a full time board member).

I firmly believe that the majority of board members are not cognizant of the impact of their decisions on parents who are considered middle-class. Occasionally, a board member will speak up on behalf of the middle-class, but inevitably, those concerns are ignored.

How can someone who travels to EY on a regular basis, goes to a hotel for Pesach relate to the parent that has not been to EY since his kids started Yeshivah, has never been to a hotel for Pesach and is at wits end to determine how to pay $62,000 of tuition, knowing that financial aid is scarce.

Once the tuition, mortgage, utilities and food have been paid for, little is left over. That is reality.

The current system needs to be dramatically altered. I would suggest that all financial matters at a Yeshivah should be in the hands of senior members of the community who no longer have any children in that particular Yeshivah.

Compounding the current tuition levels at a 6% annual pace will force our children to severly limit family size in order to be able to afford to life.

2:01 PM  
Blogger SephardiLady said...

Orthomom--As I said before, another great post. I am a firm believer that an Income Statement with basic on income and expenses should be made public. I also believe that we should have some assurance that the statement is accurate and that there are footnotes that are accurate so that the statement makes sense.

As you know, I am an accountant, and what you may not know is that the bulk of my experience is in audits.

I want to clear up a few myths regarding audits. What can an audit tell you? What won't it tell you?

Much of an audit is a review of internal controls. How is cash handled? Are there too few people handling cash opening up the school to fraud? How are accounts payable handled? Are invoices checked for accuracy, where services received, and are they marked paid when received with the check number and other pertinent information?

Unfortunately, what an audit cannot tell you is the information that we need most., So long as there are no clear administrative guidelines and salary scales, I cannot make a determination that this teacher or this administrator or this member of the support staff is being overpaid. However, if their were salaries scales in black and white, I could design and audit program to look at that issue.

I might note in the course of an audit that contracts for outside services are not being put out to bid, or that they are only being put out to bid amongst a certain limited group of overpriced vendors, but without clear and established guidelines as to how bids should be sought, I may not choose to include that fact that only two bids were sought, instead of three in my report.

In short, an audit report states that the financial states are free from material misstatement (or give another less satisfying conclusion). An audit report findings will examine internal controls and make recommendations. But, an audit report will not tell you if the school could be run more efficiently (which is the information I believe that we are all seeking).

2:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i am a parent in the school referred to. While I understand how difficult it is for families that are in the middle class range to pay full tuition, there is a very thought out process of people who get scholarship. While it is understood that tuition is a big burden on families the ones who can afford pay. The people who cannot, are on scholarship.To the Five Towns Community who are complaining about your tution increase - my understanding is that the reason we have exploded in growth is because of the good schools we have in our community. So you will answer - cut,cut, cut or raise more money. It will be like when we were children - when there were 35 kids in a class and we will have more kids at risk. I plead -please think again before you write a check to the Mikvah in Alaska, any Rebbe who comes to town and every parlor meeting that comes to town. Keep your money in our neighborhood. With much compliment to the chesed our community does

4:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The previous anon said that we should keep our money in our community and not write a check to the Mikav of Alaska. Well I hear there is a new Mikveh in Lawrence and we should all give to this holy project.

4:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i am a parent in the school referred to. While I understand how difficult it is for families that are in the middle class range to pay full tuition, there is a very thought out process of people who get scholarship.

We are not talking here about scholarships. We are talking about random tuition discounts.

4:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have you notice the amount of children that are born each year in the 5 Towns compared to Brooklyn, Lakewood or Monsey. It is as much as 2:1. It is not up to people who do not pay the monthly bills and to a yeshiva that charges $11k to tell you to have more kids and have betuchon. The yeshivos are responsible for the children and to the community it serves and to future children about to be born. Notice how we are supporting these rabaiim's ability to do the mitzvah of pru urevue but we must think twice before having them. Anyone who disagrees with this is short sided and needs to wake up and smell the coffee.

4:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this person feels for the middle class he was trying to say that a very well thought out decision was made on scholarship and middle class parents and i personally know parents who have gone to that school and are middle class and have worked out a very fair tuition with the administrators people like to be negative without thinking

5:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i think the one who wrote about having kids is a person who never made it through the yeshivah system and is angry at the rebbeim his shalom bayis is also probably not good

5:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

to the compainers who sit on the blogs why dont you figure ot an answer instead of bashing the yeshivas-do you do it at your shabbos table in front of your kids

5:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i also think about the one who wrote about having children ''pru urevu'' is a very modern person and does not belong sending his child to a yeshiva he should send his child to a day school or a public school

5:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

dear orthomom-the lashon hara and the bashing you do beware-g-d might come back to hunt you for making trouble-spend your time doing chesed and helping people in this community

5:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's a bit difficult for me to understand why tuition as some Yeshivas keeps rising at such a rapid clip.
A historical perspective: I attended a well-known yeshiva not in the New York area, but in a relatively well-to-do area. When I graduated elementary school about 20 years ago, tuition was approximately $2,500. I was told (but can't say with certainty) that tuition at the same school is currently over $10,000.
If the tuition bill from 20 years ago had just risen at the rate of inflation, do you want to guess what it would be now? About $4,600.
Why have tuition costs rise at a rate more than DOUBLE that of inflation? Most peoples salaries haven't nearly risen that fast.

5:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

dear orthomom-there is a witch hunt after you -when we find you you wii regret everything you have wrote-we will find you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!one day you will slip

5:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the person who made the comment about peru urevo maybe your 2.1 kids will take care of you when you hit 80

5:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"dear orthomom-the lashon hara and the bashing you do beware-g-d might come back to hunt you for making trouble-spend your time doing chesed and helping people in this community"

"dear orthomom-there is a witch hunt after you -when we find you you wii regret everything you have wrote-we will find you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!one day you will slip"

Whether or not you respect Orthomom's privacy, I can't imagine what content anyone would find offensive in this blog. These are extremely important issues affecting the entire community, and these issues unfortunately will not see the light of day unless they are presented in this venue.

As for "lashon hora" and "bashing" - you've gotta be kidding. Can you think of any greater chessed than trying to raise awareness and bring the community closer to resolving these issues which affect the livelihood and chinuch of families throughout the community.

Whether or not you're comfortable with the author's blogging inclinations, there is certainly no justification in belittling these important issues.

5:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you missed the boat big time this is opposite everything the torah stands for if you have a problem take it up with your school do not be ''a holaich rochiel''

5:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

what is your answer besides bashing the yeshivas-if you think that you are bringing the issue to the fore front come up with an answer maybe get off your behind and start raising money for all the community institutions

5:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...
you missed the boat big time this is opposite everything the torah stands for if you have a problem take it up with your school do not be ''a holaich rochiel''

5:46 PM


Anonymous said...
what is your answer besides bashing the yeshivas-if you think that you are bringing the issue to the fore front come up with an answer maybe get off your behind and start raising money for all the community institutions

5:50 PM


I think there's a mistake here. You seemed to have taken a wrong turn from one of those boro park or lakewood blogs. The idea here is to facilitate some intelligent dialogue and if would bother to scroll up, and review some of the comments above, you'll see many suggestions and possible solutions. Some are viable and some are not, and you may agree with some and not others, but that, of course, is the purpose of dialogue. So that these issues are not brushed under the carpet, as you'd like them to be.

6:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

what is the answer-the other two schools who are runned by educated "BUISNESSMAN" cant seem to figure out how to handle the tuition crises

6:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i did not say that all i said was that the blog is a terrible thing for the world at large you can write anything that you want whether it is true or not you can write that a rebbe is a molestor and he is a big tzadik i am not talking about the latest talk or not it is a new way to say things on people whether they are justified or not

6:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You obviously have nothing intelligent to lend to this dialogue. This is all about tackling a number of issues which affect every single yeshiva and day school in the 5T area. The particular yeshiva that you are obviously seeking to defend is only a one of the many community institutions whose leadership needs to come together, realize there are issues and figure out the best way to tackle them as a community and without name-calling and belittling the needs or concerns of any parents or segments within the community. (While you're clearly trying to defend the actions of one yeshiva which spurred this discussion with its curious tuition break methodology, you're missing the larger point.)

There is no discussion here about any person in particular or about whether any rebbe is or is not a molestor. Once again, you're confusing this with the lakewood, and brooklyn blogs. (Try yeshivaworld, theunorthodoxjew, chaptzem, etc.) This blog is about encouraging a variety of (grounded) viewpoints so that real ideas and solutions can come to light.

6:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ortho mom where are you

6:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

when was the last time you knocked on somebodies door to ask for money for a local tzedaka!!!!!!!!!!!!!

6:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you sit behind a keyboard and type your issues get off your behind and knock on some doors!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

6:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are you a fundraiser?

6:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

an asken who doesnt like your attitude-you still didnt answer my question how to solve the tuition crises!!!!!!!!!

6:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

when was the last time you raised a penny for our community-put up or shut up stop your stupid blogs and take action!!!!!!!!!!!

6:43 PM  
Anonymous New Anonymous said...

Orthomom, these people are sick... put your blog on LiveJournal and make it friends only.

6:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

spend your days online-your children will benifit at the end of the day-this is the first time i have seen this blog and i see why some kids are starving for there love and attention because they are to busy bringing their issues to the forefront-you still didnt answer my question how do you solve the tuition crises-anwer me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

6:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"an asken who doesnt like your attitude-you still didnt answer my question how to solve the tuition crises!!!!!!!!!"

As a self-declared "asken," what's your position on the establishment of:

- a community organization to encourage auditing the finances and practices of community yeshivas (Even if the audits aren't publicized they will go a long way toward reassuring parents of financial accountability, and toward reassuring other "askens" beside yourself of the need to respond better to needs of the community yeshivas) The same community organization might be able to encourage uniform practices for dealing with tuition assistance, so that parents are not forced to choose their children's yeshivas or move their children from one yeshiva to take advantage of the varying approaches toward tuition assistance taken by the difference yeshivas in the community

- a community endowment fund to subsidize tuition in all community yeshivas/schools (Can be funded by a community-wide effort to institute an inheritance "tax" as has been successfully implemented in Chicago and elsewhere)

- a community-wide effort to encourage donations toward the chinuch of our children and to provide for our community yeshivas before donating huge sums of money to (worthy) institutions elsewhere

- Rabbanim, community leaders, individuals who help make decisions at each yeshiva must recognize that there are community-wide issues, which would be dealt with best by community-wide cooperation and collaboration

Whether or not you recognize any viable solutions to the "tuition" and "transparency" concerns, it's indisputable that tuition-paying parents and prospective donors are growing increasingly skeptical about the financial practices of many yeshivas. This alone is a crisis that needs to be recognized and dealt with, regardless if any of the larger solutions (above) are implemented at all.

7:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would add:

Some sort of community tax on any parlor meetings or fundraisers for institutions out of the 5 towns.

Active volunteering and participation of community members who perhaps have an expertise or business connections that can help out local Yeshivas

The top 5% in net worth, have to pay for the bottom 35%, so the tuitions can be affordable for the middle 60%.

7:35 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

Oy. Looks like I should consider closing my comments sections when I do unimportant things like do homework with and bathe the kids. Where are my priorities.

To my new friend who seems to be offended by this content:

You don't like my blog?
You've made that clear. Say it once, say it clearly. That's enough to get your point across. After that, I start deleting. You're glutting up a perfectly reasonable comment thread.

7:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Orthomom you are always respectful and careful with your words. Please ignore this self-declared askan and continue with your thoughtful blogging. I, for one, look forward to what you have to say every day.

8:22 PM  
Anonymous MRN said...

anonymous said "The top 5% in net worth, have to pay for the bottom 35%, so the tuitions can be affordable for the middle 60%." Now, how exactly is this going to be enforced???

8:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry I missed most of this dialogue since I was working my usual 12-hour day to pay full tuition for my boys who attend the Yeshiva in question. Let me make it crystal clear that we (my spouse and I) have volunteered several times to join the board of this Yeshiva to give a realistic, successful, 2-income earner perspective to the very out-of-touch and insensitive perspective of the current board. Our offers have been ignored, yet our phone numbers are always at the tip of the fingers of those in charge of soliciting funds for the dinner, or the raffle, or whatever pet project the geniuses in charge of fund-raising dream up. I find the attitude of the board members I've spoken to supremely insulting. It's basically "we'll ask for more and more and those who can give more or who are too embarrassed to get on their knees in front of the tuition committee and beg for a break will have to anty up." There is NO concern for working parents who, due to their hard work, are not at the poverty level, there is NO respect for "full tuition" payers if they can't give $100,000 to build a wing or sponsor a scholarship. It's basically an attitude of "who cares, not our problem" to those who work for a living, while the wives of these spoiled, clueless frat boys populate the womens' league and get kudos from the school for their "selfless efforts" on behalf of the kinderlach. How lovely it must be to generously devote the time you aren't spending shopping for that perfect outfit/sheitel/stemware to be a tzadekes in the eyes of the rebbeim while other women actually have to work to pay the salaries of those rebbeim, and spend whatever precious time is left in their day with their children. I truly love the Yeshiva for the rebbeim and what they've taught my boys, but the attitude of the board and certain among the administration is a disgrace.

12:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

re: full transparency - anyone can request to see the books. According to law, non-profit books are open to the public, otherwise you can lose your nonprof status.
2. i don't live in NY, but I always find it amazing that NY'ers will spend millions (and I mean millions) on a shul, but no donor will ive the same funding to cover tuition for all Jewish students who want (need?) a Jewish education! The Jewish NY community should first consider their priorities before complaining about schooling costs.

5:47 AM  
Anonymous mycroft said...

"anyone can request to see the books. According to law, non-profit books are open to the public, otherwise you can lose your nonprof status."

Form 990's are public records. Guidestar has them online. However, churches don't have to file them-schools do. I believe and one can check giidestar-that only 1 local day school yeshiva files the form.
Churches are exempt from filing the form-presto I bet most didn't know that practically all5T Yeshivas/day schools claim to be churches. One reason only to avoid transperancy. If the schools want to be transparent put your financials on your websites. Fat chance.

6:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I happen to know that the yeshiva in question here files as a church/synagogue. Whether that is to avoid transparency or for some other tax benefits, I do not know.

8:45 AM  
Blogger SephardiLady said...

Mycroft is correct. I have tried to compare the 990's in my out-of-town community to some similiar schools in NY and not a 990 exists.

Unfortunately, the lack of data to compare to (and the 990 doesn't particularily provide great data), makes it near impossible for any school to start to collect data, much less evaluate it.

9:06 AM  
Blogger Still Wonderin' said...

"I happen to know that the yeshiva in question here files as a church/synagogue. Whether that is to avoid transparency or for some other tax benefits, I do not know."

i wouldn't cast aspersions on the yeshiva you refer to. to address your comment though, an organization that registers as a congregation is no required to file 990s with the IRS. This limits public disclosure. Again, I am by no means making a judgment or suggestion on this organization's motive for the way they filed their 501c3.

9:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And these are the people we entrust to teach our kinderlach???!? How sad.

9:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is a reason they file as a church. If they have smicha, and most day school rebbes do have smicha, they can take their residence as a parsonage since they work for a 'church'. I am positive even the male office staff at our local yeshiva ketana all declare themselves to be rabbis working for a church and take parsonage. They even decline to pay taxes on the monthly parking fees nearby, because they are claiming 'parsonage'.

9:54 AM  
Anonymous mochassid said...

the diffinative answer to the problem is on my blog today.

10:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mochassid,

- Hardly the definitive answer, but you did borrow one of the proposed solutions from the comments above (encouraging support of local chinuch, over the support of outside mosdos), which is certainly a good idea.

10:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

MRN said...
anonymous said "The top 5% in net worth, have to pay for the bottom 35%, so the tuitions can be affordable for the middle 60%." Now, how exactly is this going to be enforced???

8:59 PM

The problem is enforcing that. But if there was a total effort including Rabbis and organizations (Agudah etc) perhaps Yeshivas can be as hip as dedicating an Artscroll Gemorah. Why we need to translate the Talmud Yerushalmi at $100k or so a volume is beyond my comprehension, when we cant afford tuitions for our kids. If we focused on that, the result would be that the tuitions would be lower.

My other idea is what i call alternative minimum tuition for the 5towns. Take .8% of your home assesed value (8k per $1 million of home value) add 1k for each of the Pesach hotel vacations over the last 3 years, add your monthly car payments, add 5000 for every Simcha you spent over $75k on, then add .5 percent of your real estate and investment holdings, and that is your tuition per child. Thats not scientific just an example.

11:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How can parents bring the message to the rabbis and yeshiva donors/directors who need to hear this?

12:01 PM  
Blogger SephardiLady said...

Anon 9:54. Read up on the parsonage requirements. Unfortunately, parsonage is something that is abused in our communities. But, you are simplifying the requirements of parsonage.

2:09 PM  
Anonymous Helene said...

One of the other benefits of homeschooling is we can prevent the bullying that Orthomom discusses in her next posting. Some of the worst socialization of children that I've ever encountered has been by and with Day School Children. It's like middot is not part of the yeshiva curriculum, nor is shimirat halashon. Question for one of the other respondants: Why do you think you can't homeschool Limudei Kodesh and other Jewish studies with small children in the home? The toddler/preschool set certainly doesn't study Talmud but they can most definitely help Mommy bake challah for Shabbat, help prepare for Holidays, participate in Tikkun Olam projects, etc. etc. etc. As kids get older, their religious studies ramp up in intensity. And who more so than their parents are our children's best study partners???

3:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the guy who wrote "Anonymous said... i think the one who wrote about having kids is a person who never made it through the yeshivah system and is angry at the rebbeim his shalom bayis is also probably not good 5:08 PM "

I went to a top yeshiva six years of Bais Medrash, plus three years of Kollel. My parents never paid this kind of tuition. I have no doubt that I know halacha and can learn better than you. How despicable you are to announce my Shalom Bayis and my hatred for Rabaiim. I made a good point which is the ratios are there and very few of us have multiple children. You should be embarrassed for writing such filth about another Jew and I am not Mochel you.

3:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who opened the floodgates. Can the previous two anonymous commentators find their way back to Chaptzem blog or the like?

3:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am going to log off but may I just add that you need to discuss the issues not the personal attacks.

3:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why is the guy who is so angry and a religious fanatic posting stuff online? Didn't the Moetzes G'dolei Torah tell him about the evils of the internet? And besides, he's garbling up an otherwise important and relevant topic with his anger.
Is there some way to limit the nonsensical juvenile attacks?

4:02 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

I just deleted a bunch of name-calling comments. Please keep it civil, people. These childish comments are ruining a very productive thread. If your comments don't contain any points relevant to the conversation at hand, post them at your own peril. They will probably be gone as soon as I see them.

Grow up.

4:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

please shutdown orthomom-you parents and grandparents would be embaressed if they saw this negative dialoge going on

4:22 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...


Anonymous said...

please shutdown orthomom-you parents and grandparents would be embaressed if they saw this negative dialoge going on


Then you certainly don't know my parents or grandparents. They would find most of the dialogue that goes on here to be extremely productive.

The only "negative dialogue" I see here is yours.

4:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i know the school in discussion-do you have any idea what chesed comes out of this institution-just ask the kids

4:29 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...


Anonymous said...

i know the school in discussion-do you have any idea what chesed comes out of this institution-just ask the kids

4:29 PM


I agree. What does that have to do with whether they made a prudent decision regarding tuition raises and tuition discounts? You may not realize this, but the overwhelming majority of parents in the Yeshiva we are discussing work hard for their money and struggle to pay tuition. If they feel that the Yeshiva is not necessarily considering their needs, then that is something that must be addressed.

4:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"i know the school in discussion-do you have any idea what chesed comes out of this institution-just ask the kids"

Once again, this is not about any one yeshiva in particular, though there was one yeshiva's practices which inspired this important dialogue.

But if you don't want people ranking out your coveted yeshiva, stop redirecting the dialogue to be about your yeshiva.

4:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

dont you get what you pay for -good rebbeim with better salaries,a shortage of good teachers that you must pay for,a 9 acre campus so kids could play on the ballfields and not on the roof of a building,a
resource center that addresses the needs of children that are not able to keep up academicly ,a school that takes in almost all the yesomim in town.....and i could go on and on

4:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

so the money has to stay in this community!!!!!!!!!!

4:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"dont you get what you pay for -good rebbeim with better salaries,a shortage of good teachers that you must pay for,a 9 acre campus so kids could play on the ballfields and not on the roof of a building,a
resource center that addresses the needs of children that are not able to keep up academicly ,a school that takes in almost all the yesomim in town.....and i could go on and on"


Do you have any concern about the children who attend other yeshivas or the practices of other yeshivas or the parents who pay tuition to other yeshivas, or is your only concern about defending that one yeshiva. BECAUSE THIS IS A COMMUNITY PROBLEM AND IT'S NOT ABOUT JUST ONE YESHIVA.

This is about a community crisis, so defending your one yeshiva that you seem to care about is selfish and foolish in the context of this dialogue.

4:49 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

Anonymous said...

dont you get what you pay for -good rebbeim with better salaries,a shortage of good teachers that you must pay for,a 9 acre campus so kids could play on the ballfields and not on the roof of a building,a
resource center that addresses the needs of children that are not able to keep up academicly ,a school that takes in almost all the yesomim in town.....and i could go on and on

4:42 PM


And I could go on and on as well. This is NOT about the school, though I will take all you said about it as the truth. It's about right and wrong. The school MUST have set policies regarding tuition breaks and tuition raises. As long as this spotty policy is implemented, with no regard to the hardworking parents who struggle to pay full tuition and make ends meet, the Yeshiva, no matter how wonderfully it provides for its Talmidim, is accountable to its parent body.

4:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

SephardiLady - Although I may be simplifying the requirements of parsonage (please post a link of the requirements I would love to see them) I know for a fact that even administrators in our local yeshiva take it including parking. The more frum the school, the lower the rebbe's pay, the more likelihood of tax scams. Something tells me that rebbes and morahs who receive reduced tuition for their children in exchange for teaching aren't paying taxes on this benefit as they should be.

4:53 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...


Anonymous said...

SephardiLady - Although I may be simplifying the requirements of parsonage (please post a link of the requirements I would love to see them) I know for a fact that even administrators in our local yeshiva take it including parking. The more frum the school, the lower the rebbe's pay, the more likelihood of tax scams. Something tells me that rebbes and morahs who receive reduced tuition for their children in exchange for teaching aren't paying taxes on this benefit as they should be.


This type of presumption has no place in this discussion. We are discussing facts here.

4:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the praisers of home schooling: yes it is easy to homeschool preschool. Who can't bake some cookies and call it school? But plenty of teachers bemoan the fact that parents give it up just when it starts getting difficult starting first grade or so. How many moms could teach a fifth grade limudei kodesh curriculum for a boy, math and modern Hebrew for a third grade girl, bake cookies, and breastfeed, all at the same time? What if there is a high school kid in this mix?

It's just not possible.

4:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

how does a school know the truth if people arent telling the entire truth on their tax returns or paying their shikses off the books-schools due their due diligence to get to the truth.i still am hearing from eecutive directors its impossible to get a dinner honeree-why dont they want to help jewish education florish in our community????

4:59 PM  
Anonymous SS said...

"Once again, this is not about any one yeshiva in particular, though there was one yeshiva's practices which inspired this important dialogue."

Read the article. It IS about a certain yeshiva. The "general tuition crisis" has been covered over and over already. This article is specifically about one certain action by a specific yeshiva.

5:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is 4:53 anonymous:
Why is my post off-topic? Yeshiva day schools are paying their employees totally above-board on the books, so these employees pay all legal taxes. Other schools pay alot less but facilitate parsonage breaks for the rebbeim. The first school will have higher tuition than the second. I copied some text from the IRS website:

Ministers
Most services you perform as a minister, priest, rabbi, etc., are qualified services. These services include:

Performing sacerdotal functions,

Conducting religious worship, and

Controlling, conducting, and maintaining religious organizations (including the religious boards, societies, and other integral agencies of such organizations) that are under the authority of a religious body that is a church or denomination.


You are considered to control, conduct, and maintain a religious organization if you direct, manage, or promote the organization's activities.

A religious organization is under the authority of a religious body that is a church or denomination if it is organized for and dedicated to carrying out the principles

----
According to this rule, the 'administrator' of a yeshiva ketana with smicha could take parsonage.

5:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is a "yeshiva ketana" "under the authority of a religious body that is a church or denomination."

5:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am very friendly with many of the board members of that school and I have been following the last few comments of the last couple of days. First of all, Orthomom, to write such a blog that the yeshiva is out of touch with its middle range parenfs is totally untrue. The board, as they tell me, has members from Bayswater to Far Rockaway To cedarhurst and from poor to wealthy .The yeshiva does not cowtow to the wealthy members of the board.I happen to know how the school dealt with the middle class, the ones that they did not raise. They called it a discount as opposed to schlarship so as not to hurt their pride.This school is arguably the best Orthodox elementary scool in the country.It has the best educators and finest Rebbeyim from across the spectrum.This school prides itself on talking to parents,to hear complaints,to constantly make the best student possible.The principals, who I speak to regularly , are there to the middle of the night.The most chesed in town comes out of that institution..Whenever someone in that school loses his or her job the school will immediately return their postdated checks.They are so nice to the middle class parents.So as I conclude to Orthomom ,your approach to this five town tumult about tuition is a terrible way to ameliorate this situation.

5:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon said...."This school is arguably the best Orthodox elementary scool in the country.It has the best educators and finest Rebbeyim from across the spectrum.This school prides itself on talking to parents,to hear complaints,to constantly make the best student possible.The principals, who I speak to regularly , are there to the middle of the night.The most chesed in town comes out of that institution..Whenever someone in that school loses his or her job the school will immediately return their postdated checks".

Whenever I hear some say the BEST and someone does the MOST I tend be a bit skeptical. Anon....did you actually rate every Yeshiva in the country??? Did you do any type of research about who does the MOST chesed?? I am quite certain they don't IMMEDIATELY return those checks. Then again, I am sure you have proof of all this.

6:08 PM  
Blogger SephardiLady said...

Of course it is nice if a school returns postdated checks for parents that loose a job, but it doesn't excuse extending AUTOMATIC tuition breaks to some parents over other parents, while only subjecting certain parents to the humiliating tuition committee hearings.

Anon-You are correct that a principal of a yeshiva/day school is eligible for parsonage (assuming he has smicha). Also, a full tuition discount is taxable, while an employee discount is not (I believe). I wouldn't make any assumptions about who is working within the law and who isn't. (I'll stop now, since this is Orthomom's thread and she would like to keep it productive--which is a great policy).

8:55 PM  
Anonymous Board Member said...

"I am quite certain they don't IMMEDIATELY return those checks."

And how are YOU so certain? Are you intimately involved with this yeshiva's administration? Well, I am.

"Then again, I am sure you have proof of all this."

Actually, I do. I also have proof of someone being absolved of their pledge when their financial situation took a turn for the worse.

10:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

board member,

Is there a problem in this community (and all of its yeshivas/schools) with regard tuition and distrust of financial practices of yeshivas?

As someone who's close to the administration of the yeshiva that you're defending, isn't it time that yeshiva and it's lay leaders took a lead role in pursuing some viable community solutions? Or, should we continue to make believe (a)there's no problem, (b)there's no viable solution and (c)it's up to someone else to deal with it?

(Please see Anon 7:24PM above for some ideas.)

10:51 PM  
Blogger - Typo Lad said...

This is making me more and more greatful for my daughter's wonderful Yeshiva.

Fascinating blog entry on the problems parents face.

I find the comments by some that seem to think this is an attack on frumkite fascinating though.

7:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Please - keep your bake sales and chinese auctions - I'd rather work and pay my own way than be the next big chessed cause for the board members' well-intentioned, but clueless wives. Funny how the compassion suddenly kicks in when it involves a tzedaka brunch/tea/supperrette complete with adorable pastries and a tour of the lovely new extension."

Why knock the wives? They're trying to do their share and they devote their time to helping the yeshiva in any way they can. And not all of them are clueless or jobless.

1:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Agreed, in part. As I said, many are well-intentioned. And as you said, not all are clueless or jobless. Just a visible majority. I take it you agree with the rest?

1:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I do agree with the rest. However, if not for that visible majority, no one else would step up to the plate. Do you honestly think these girls want to take all this time and effort to organize functions? It's alot of work and uncomfortable phone calls. They have children, too (plus gym and shopping) but no one else is willing to do it. Kudos to them.

1:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Anonymous said...
board member,
Is there a problem in this community (and all of its yeshivas/schools) with regard tuition and distrust of financial practices of yeshivas?"


Why should there be this distrust of financial practices of yeshivas? Could someone tell me how they suspect a yeshiva would mismanage its money? Is it just about who gets tuition breaks, or perhaps they pay their rebbeim too much? Not being snide, just want to know.

1:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 1:38:
I detect a note of sarcasm, with which I obviously agree. And yes, others would step up if this often exclusive club would even allow it. It's actually harder than you think to get involved. I have personal knowledge of women who have volunteered multiple times and been ignored or politely discouraged from participating in events that were already "fully staffed."

1:50 PM  
Blogger SephardiLady said...

Could someone tell me how they suspect a yeshiva would mismanage its money?

Sure!!!
Weak internal controls.
Lack of regular bidding and contracting procedures.
Lack of salary scales.

I'm not saying there is mismanagement. But, unless you run yourself like a tight ship, people will suspect the money is not being used efficiently.

2:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

why is there a need for salary scales? These are not union laborers. Are you saying that perhaps rebbeim could be paid too much?

2:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can think of several dozen ways a yeshiva could mismanage its money, but I can't say with any knowledge about the specific circumstances.
The board of the yeshiva, if it is responsible, should clearly state what the yeshiva's policies are regarding important matters such as tuition.
For example, the board should clearly state what the school's policies are regarding tuition for students whose parents are employed by the school. This is very important, because if such students are not charged, any overhead or other charges for such students must be allocated to all other paying students.
The board should also clearly state what it examines when deciding upon next year's tuition, and in giving out financial aid.
If people would think there's some reason and clarity to the process, it would go a long way. (Of course, you'll always have a few yentas disagreeing with the board's assessments).

3:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All of your comments regarding opening the books and possible financial mismanagement seem to revolve around tuition, and who gets a discount. Do you (all) honestly think that the list of families who undergo the humiliation of asking for(and receiving)tuition discounts should be made public? The board knows, but who else need know?

8:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also, assuming there is no financial mismanagement, yet the school cannot meet its obligations, would it then be OK to raise tuition?

8:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am very friendly with many of the board members of that school and I have been following the last few comments of the last couple of days. First of all, Orthomom, to write such a blog that the yeshiva is out of touch with its middle range parenfs is totally untrue. The board, as they tell me, has members from Bayswater to Far Rockaway To cedarhurst and from poor to wealthy.

Your points only bolster OM's (and my) position that board IS completely out of touch with the not struggling, not nebach-case, hard-working, solid-income-earning but not wealthy-by-birth. Bayswater and Far Rockaway parents on the board? They represent those either not paying at all, not paying full, or the jet-set Far Rockaway, too "unmaterialistic" for Lawrence, but otherwise indistinguishable from the rest of the board. Unless you're living in a bubble and haven't noticed the mcmansions off Reeds Lane, you know EXACTLY what I'm talking about. This is not a neighborhood issue - it's a frame of mind - an arrogance and insensitivity to those who are NOT struggling and an inability to relate to people whose second income makes them comfortable, but not oblivious to bills.

The yeshiva does not cowtow to the wealthy members of the board.I happen to know how the school dealt with the middle class, the ones that they did not raise. They called it a discount as opposed to scholarship so as not to hurt their pride.

Really? Where's my "discount"? I assure you I would not have been "offended" by a nice sibling discount. Since you seem to have all the answers, how exactly did the school define the "middle class?"

This school is arguably the best Orthodox elementary scool in the country.It has the best educators and finest Rebbeyim from across the spectrum.This school prides itself on talking to parents,to hear complaints,to constantly make the best student possible.The principals, who I speak to regularly , are there to the middle of the night.The most chesed in town comes out of that institution.

A bit hyperbolic, but I agree in spirit. It is an excellent school with exceptional rebbeim. That's why we put up with the cluelessness of the financial decision-makers.

Whenever someone in that school loses his or her job the school will immediately return their postdated checks.They are so nice to the middle class parents.

Just peachy. No thanks, but I'd rather keep my job and let the school keep their post-dated checks. Do you honestly think having "nebach" stampled across your forehead should be the criteria for a bit of humanity and compassion for an unreasonable, unfairly applied tuition hike? Please - keep your bake sales and chinese auctions - I'd rather work and pay my own way than be the next big chessed cause for the board members' well-intentioned, but clueless wives. Funny how the compassion suddenly kicks in when it involves a tzedaka brunch/tea/supperrette complete with adorable pastries and a tour of the lovely new extension.

Middle class my you-know-what. Let's see the board and the school issue receipts for tax refunds and thank you notes to the "middle-class" who works hard, pays full tuition, and clearly subsidizes the "scholarships" and "discounts" of those who don't. A bit of respect and gratitude would go a long way.

9:31 PM  
Anonymous concerned 5T parent said...

the yeshiva tuition crisis has been an issue for my family for many years. I have children in ranging from pre-school to high school. The scary thing is that in years time my tuition will jump ten thousand dollars. I will then have 2 children in elementary and two in high school. But what is the solution?
I heard an interesting answer that might just work, with the right people to sell the idea.

My understanding is that in Europe Jewish education was funded by the community through an education tax. For many reasons this cannot be enforced here. But the idea is, I believe, a good one.

Would it be so crazy to add a small ( even as little as 2%)tax increase on kosher food products that will go directly to one national jewish education fund? Money could then be allocated to each jewish child, NO MATTER WHAT TYPE of religious school they choose. In this way anyone who buys these products, jew or non-jew would be contributing to jewish education. Since today kosher food is bought by millions of people in the U.S. the amount of funds generated could potentially benefit every child in this country.
Clearly I have no knowledge of the tax laws in this state but if there is anyone reading this that does, I ask you, is there any way this could be done???

11:49 PM  
Anonymous concerned 5T parent said...

to take it one step further;
What if our community formed an elected board to research how much it costs to educated a jewish child, regardless of what school he or she went to. This board would then be in charge of a communal fund that would be allocated to each school on behalf of every child in the neighborhood. So instead of having ten school dinners a year where each one fights for contributions. Why can't there be a communal fund for jewish education. With ONE dinner where everyone contributes to?????

12:01 AM  
Blogger SephardiLady said...

Orthomom-Check out Larry Gordon's post on the "Tuition Crisis?" He uses a Question Mark to ask if there is really a crisis. I found it rather degrading. You can see my comments on my blog and his post on his blog here:

http://www.5tjt.net/lgblog/?p=5

Since he is a figure in the Five Towns, his comments should not go unresponded to.

6:26 PM  
Blogger SephardiLady said...

Concerned 5t-Only the government can choose to place a tax on a product and I don't think there is a state in this Union that taxes food, nor should there be.

I do think that businesses that service the frum community (sheital shops, Pesach resorts, etc) could enact a "sales tax." But, without full participation it would be useless.

6:28 PM  
Blogger SephardiLady said...

Orthomom-It is pitiful that now that you and I have commented on Larry Gordon's blog (and he moderates comments and even visited my post on the subject on my sight as I saw from my sight meter) that he has not responded. The silence is deafening.

On of my commentators disagreed with my interpretation (and it was just that because I had no idea of the point of his post), but now that I see no response forthcoming, I'm starting to think that my interpretation was correct. (In addition, my husband read the post and agreed that it was highly condescending).

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

What about home schooling? There is a whole home schooling movement. Many of our ancestors were homeschooled.

It is not for everybody. But there is still something to it. It is legal. Certain religious Christians do it because they can't stand the public school scene.

The proof of the pudding is the eating: under certain conditions, the RESULTS, the PRODUCT, are all right, even very good. Homeschooled children, sometimes, can turn out quite knowledgeable and happy. Just a thought.

Yes, there would be concerns ... about draining families from our institutions ... but ... still .... You would be amazed what can be accomplished with regular, scheduled, instruction at home, with good materials, by a serious-minded mother and enthusiastic kids.

If the schools were unavailable, you would all HAVE TO DO THIS ANYWAY. You wouldn't let the knowledge die out, would you? No. If you HAD TO, you would home-school.

Maybe we should Google "homeschool". But what do I know.

7:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As for socialization of the children with home-schooling ... try having people over to your house regularly. With home schooling, you would have acres of time for that.

Yes, a good school is a G-d send. I am not against schools.

But gee wiz... the bills. What it in the world has gone wrong?

There could be a creative fabric of small local cheders, home-schooling cheders, linked by computer to professional leadership in a small Learning Central office which would manage curriculum, with monthly lectures in a big place, rented only once a month, to promote a feeling of everyone having a common ground, a feeling of unity....

This is the high tech age. The distance learning age. Maybe we have to get clever, nimble, creative.

7:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the Catholic schools educate their children for $3 or $4 thousand a year. Not $30 thousand. Somebody could check this.

They have ascetic-minded clergy who regard teaching as a Korban and who live on the school premises, in dormitories.

Could we imitate that somehow? With unmarried young teachers? With senior supervision, obviously. Of course we would rotate new ones in, as the old ones got married.

Is there a Murphy's Law that says that the more people can afford, the more they are charged? If we didn't have the money, they would not charge this much.

2:34 PM  
Anonymous George said...

Anon 2:34, I think most of the people here are saying that they can't afford the tuition.

Additionaly the Catholic Church is very wealthy even after compensating the victims of abuse in their schools.

Finally how about quality of the education being provided, since when has an experienced teacher been a bad thing.

4:59 PM  
Blogger rel said...

How about dividing up the costs. YDT has a large property that takes alot to maintain. They also have a large security force. The costs for these 2 things should be paid by everyone, even if you pay no tuition e.g., administrators, faculty. Then the tuition costs should be determined on how much does it cost to educate my child. That is what the tuition should be. There should be a scholarship fund that we can contribute to. It would be considered part of your maaseh for tzedaka. It could also be taken off your taxes. There is one major issue I have with people who ask for tuition assistance. If you really need it, I am more than happy to pay part of your share. But please don't make a fancy bar mitzvah and then say that your parents paid for it! Tell your parents you owe the yeshiva that money and then make a small simcha. There is a yeshiva in Bklyn that not only asks for the financial status of the parents, but they also require grandparents to fill one out too! If the grandparents are able to afford the tuition, there is NO BREAK. Why should I pay for B family's tuition when their parents can well afford to help out. Tzedaka starts at home. Help your children so strangers don't have to.

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