Thursday, June 02, 2005

Tuition Crisis (& Solution?)

DovBear has a post about the Agudah's initiative to help legislation pass that will provide a tax credit to corporations and individuals who make donations to approved scholarship funds. While I think we'll all agree that the tuition situation (especially in NY) is way out of control, DB doesn't feel that this legislation will help in this regard at all. He feels that this will only serve to line the pockets of those running the schools and will not affect the tuition or the teacher salaries.

I’m not sure where I stand on this. While I agree with DB in doubting that my tuition bill will go down as a result of this, there is the chance that it will; the chance that the quality of education will improve; or the chance that the facilities my child spends all day in will be repaired.

On the flip side, who will hold the schools (or as DovBear calls them, ‘the owners’) to account?

For the longest time I’ve been asking myself why none of the schools show their books. I’m sure they all are in dire need of funds, but no one gets to really see where the monies are going. From what I hear, most of the yeshivas are not even in the tax status that will get them the most benefit because that would require more transparency. Let me see what the operating expenses are, what the salaries are, what the administrators are making and then we’ll talk.

I really can't imagine that it costs $10,000 per child to educate him/her. The fact of the matter is, many parents need tuition breaks. Those paying the full tuition are not paying because that’s the cost, they’re paying a higher rate to offset the breaks given to other families. I heard about a school in NJ (Lakewood maybe?) that doesn’t play by these rules. They have a set tuition in the $4,000 range (I’m not sure of the exact amount). That’s it. Set. One kid? $4,000. 4 Kids? $16,000. You get the point. It’s a lower rate but they’re not giving breaks all around the table. There are no scholarships even offered. What does a family do if they’re sending 6 kids to the school and can’t afford it? The parents get together on their own and have scholarships available for those in need. Think about it. You’re sending 3 kids to school and your tuition bill is $12,000- that’s almost the cost for one kid elsewhere. You can afford to contribute to this scholarship fund.

Nice isn’t it? Now why can’t we do that also?

68 Comments:

At 10:54 AM, Blogger torontopearl said...

Hey, can that NJ school tell my kids' Toronto school about the tuition policy...please.

When my children were born, I'd have people get my name/number from the hospital and these reps would call us to try to sway us into starting to put $$$ into a university fund. "Who needs university funds? I need day school funds," I wanted to tell them!

 
At 10:57 AM, Blogger Just Passing Through said...

would any of these reps also have the name Pearl by any chance?

 
At 10:58 AM, Blogger Just Passing Through said...

what IS the tuition in Toronto like anyway?

 
At 11:12 AM, Blogger torontopearl said...

I didn't quite understand your first comment re. Pearl (my brain is only beginning to form concrete thoughts at 11:10 a.m.).
As for tuition, it's over $9000/child, over $27,000 Cdn. for my 3 kids for the coming year -- my youngest, who will be in full-day SK, has a tuition that is only a couple of hundred dollars less than the older two who are going into grade 5 (for you, fifth grade) and grade 3 (translation: third grade) respectively.

 
At 12:19 PM, Blogger orthomom said...

You know we're drowning. I posted about this earlier this week. I agree with you. I understand that the people who barely make enough to feed their families cannot pay full tuition. I get that the people who have been blessed with parnassah are able to subsidize them. But what about the people in the middle who cannot afford to do that? What does it actually cost to educate my child, and why can't I just pay that?

 
At 12:25 PM, Blogger Just Passing Through said...

what kills me is that anywhere else I'd be living nice. What normally would be a nice living between me and my wife turns into just making ends meet. literally. It sucks big time.

 
At 12:43 PM, Blogger orthomom said...

Yeah, we talk about that a lot lately. It's depressing.

 
At 1:19 PM, Blogger Air Time said...

Its interesting to me to watch this discussion because we have never had to think about tuition.

 
At 3:06 PM, Blogger Just Passing Through said...

c'mon people. This is one post I really want comments on. What about the yeshivas opening their books. How come, with the exception of on eor two, NONE disclose their books?!? I would think this would be expected before asking for help.

 
At 4:38 PM, Blogger Air Time said...

JPT- If you want comments on opening books, you need to rewrite this, so it reads like this.

Headline - C'mon Yeshivas, open your books

The tuition situation (especially in NY) is way out of control. Who will hold the schools to account?

For the longest time I’ve been asking myself why none of the schools show their books. I’m sure they all are in dire need of funds, but no one gets to really see where the monies are going.

From what I hear, most of the yeshivas are not even in the tax status that will get them the most benefit because that would require more transparency.

Let me see what the operating expenses are, what the salaries are, what the administrators are making etc and then we’ll talk.

I really cannot imagine that it costs $10,000 per child to educate him/her.

Leave off the whole DB preamble. get rid of the ideal situation in NJ, don't talk about who can afford
to send their 6 kids, just write about the issue that you feel strongly about, because I had no idea after reading this that you wanted to discuss yeshivas opening their books.

 
At 4:39 PM, Blogger Air Time said...

oh, and then go to Jrants and upload you headlines right away so that it has a long time to stay at or near the top of the list.

 
At 4:42 PM, Blogger Just Passing Through said...

So I ramble. Sue me for not being the professional writer you are. humph.

Oh, and look at you with all the Jrant strategy. Nice.

 
At 4:53 PM, Blogger orthomom said...

Don't worry, I'm not even on JRants yet. I haven't figured out what an RSS feed is yet. (Yes, I'm a loser)

 
At 5:00 PM, Blogger Air Time said...

I dont care that you ramble. I am just telling you if you want people to hit you with comments, you need to plan it better.

You were the one asking for comments. All I did was take your post, cut out the extra, and change a word or two so that the sentences flowed.

Wey don't you post it the way I edited it and see if you get different results.

 
At 5:00 PM, Blogger Air Time said...

I don't know how i got onto jrants. I didn't sign up.

 
At 5:56 PM, Blogger Just Passing Through said...

I hear what you're saying but the point was built on this legislation Agudah is trying to push through. I cleaned it up just a bit for you.

 
At 10:44 PM, Blogger Air Time said...

You cleaned it up but you will never get the comments on the topic you want like this. Your main point doesnt even come up until your post is almost over.

 
At 1:00 AM, Blogger Rebecca said...

On the question of how much it costs to educate a child - for many public school districts, the per pupil costs are quite high. In my school district (Ithaca) it is over $10,000 per pupil (and actually might be much more, I can't remember the exact figure). Of course, that's not paid through tuition - it's paid through property taxes, which everyone who owns property has to pay (other than tax-exempt organizations like Cornell University, churches, synagogues, etc.). And our property taxes are mighty high! But they're not as high as day school/yeshiva tuition, since it's spread out over the entire population of those liable to property taxes - which includes people who don't have children or whose children are grown and thus out of the school system. Maybe the solution is that the entire Orthodox Jewish community should tax itself for Jewish education - so that everyone affiliated with the community pays, not just the parents during the time that their children are in school. (I know this isn't a practical suggestion!)

 
At 9:40 AM, Blogger Air Time said...

And here comes Rebecca to prove me wrong.

 
At 10:27 AM, Blogger Air Time said...

I am a bit curious about that school in lakewood. What is the quality of education there? Do they have a new books, a nice facility, a gym, art classes, a science lab, school library?

What are they giving up with their low cost tuition?

 
At 10:46 AM, Blogger orthomom said...

Air, I don't think they have all those facilities, but I don't think their parent body is looking for them. I guess this is a case of a school meeting the needs of its constituency.

 
At 11:24 AM, Blogger Air Time said...

Are those amenities available in your school. Would you be willing to give those up for the lower-priced tuition bill?

 
At 12:23 PM, Blogger orthomom said...

Some are, some aren't. I have to think about that question. It's a good one. I find myself supplementing so much of my childrens' secular education anyway that I'm not sure what the great loss would be with a library and a science lab, etc. I DO know, however, that the majority of the more "yeshivish" element of the parent body WOULD give up these amenities for a significantly lower tuition rate. JPT, do you agree?

 
At 12:30 PM, Blogger Just Passing Through said...

I must alpologize for my neglect. I'm home today, painting and trying to finish what the contractor didn't before shabbos.

Rebecca: Thanks for stopping by. I'll try to respond better when I have a chance.

Air: You see? Comments. And a new visitor to boot! I'll get back to you too.

Mom: I would agree somewhat. I don't think that one is tied with the other. You can have bot- to some degree of course. My point was that the high tuition was to cover the scholarships. Lower both and you'r even without services suffering. But either way, I would sacrifice some things for a lower tuition.

 
At 1:10 PM, Blogger Air Time said...

No I don't feel bad for not posting you yet.

Probably on Monday.

 
At 3:17 PM, Blogger Air Time said...

i got bored and posted you

 
At 6:50 PM, Blogger orthomom said...

Hey pal, thanks a lot for the "too serious" plug! Dontcha know I'm working on my image? Trying to seem less like I'm middle-aged? I made so much progress with Air's last week cover, only to slip back with your comment in this week's. But c'mon, at least I'm still kinda fun when I comment.Right? RIGHT?

 
At 8:51 AM, Blogger Just Passing Through said...

You're great when you comment. It's like two different people. We all know that Air cover showed the real Mom.

 
At 9:06 AM, Blogger orthomom said...

I actually have a funny outing story that you would appreciate. I think I have to tell you by email, though.

 
At 9:15 AM, Blogger Just Passing Through said...

Rebecca, I think that there is, os was, some sort of effort to this effect. I'm not sure of the details though. When you think about the dollars spent per child in the public school system, bear in mind that they get a hell of a lot more for their money. After schhol programs, sports programs, better facilities etc. I guess I wouldn't be able to have a gripe about the yeshiva system if they would just show where the money is going. To my knowledge, none do.

Mom, do you know which school I was referring to? Cuz I've only heard of it in passing. What school is it?

 
At 9:19 AM, Blogger LocuTus of Borg said...

Hmmm interesting reading. Just my two cents that I grew up and my kids are growing up in a public school system which is supported by taxes. I agree that schools should open their books to allow the community to see the expenses and income (Sarbanes-Oxley act ...). However, it does cost a lot to educate children - school facility, computers, lab equipment, gym equipment, teacher salaries, custodial salaries.

 
At 10:16 AM, Blogger orthomom said...

I thought it was the Lakewood Cheder, but I might be wrong...

 
At 10:25 AM, Blogger Just Passing Through said...

Locutus, no one is denying the cost of a good education. But show where the money is going. For all I know, the guy coming to my house and sitting at my dining room table asking for money to help the yeshiva, is making more than I am. It would not surprise me at all.

 
At 10:46 AM, Blogger orthomom said...

In our case, JPT, it IS true.

 
At 10:51 AM, Blogger Just Passing Through said...

what, that they make more $$? I figured as much. That's why I think that if this legislation passes, in order to qualify you need to show where the money is going.

 
At 12:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re: Yeshivas don't open their books:

Make an appointment with the Yeshiva administrator and ask him why it costs so much. You will get educated - big time - in what it really costs to run a Yeshiva.

I've done this and I will never again suspect that we are being overcharged - it simply isn't true. There are massive hidden costs that us regular parents have no inkling about (such as insurance and regulatory fees).

- Big Maybe

 
At 1:23 PM, Blogger Just Passing Through said...

Why should I have to make an appt to get educated big time? Please tell me what the reason would be to keep this information secret? Any public company, with responsibilites to its shareholders must disclose
their financial picture. Why should they be any different?? Are we supposed to take their word for it that they need more money? If people could see the expenses involved and see what revenues are coming in we wouldn't be having this discussion.

 
At 1:38 PM, Blogger Air Time said...

do you really want the school to spend a minimum of $5000 to put together a report disclosing their financial picture?

 
At 1:43 PM, Blogger Just Passing Through said...

Actually, yes. It would be money well-spent and will develop trust.
I really don't think they're not disclosing numbers to save $$.

 
At 11:17 PM, Blogger Just Passing Through said...

Air, 40 comments and approaching a clique record. And you said no one would comment on this post.

 
At 8:40 AM, Blogger orthomom said...

You only need 4 more...

 
At 8:46 AM, Blogger Just Passing Through said...

I know, I know. Let's go people.

 
At 11:24 AM, Blogger Air Time said...

absolutely shameless begging for comments. what is the clique record? Still Wondering had a few where he went over 30. How many did M4 get.

 
At 11:24 AM, Blogger Air Time said...

by the way, what is Dovbear doing taking credit for the Orthomom rebranding campaign?

 
At 12:08 PM, Blogger Just Passing Through said...

Air, you just tied it at 44 and I was wondering the same thing about DovBear. Seems he's doing some off-line image consulting for Mom. Is it helping Mom?

 
At 6:40 PM, Blogger orthomom said...

He's not doing me any favors. As long as he keeps using words like "old," and "prissy", you're the one who's done the most for my image, Air! If he considers offline consulting telling me that my name sucks, then yes, thats what he's doing.

 
At 8:49 PM, Blogger Just Passing Through said...

I say he's just baiting you. You DID get a dedicated post after all. How many visitors did that bring?
Is he still trying to figure out who you are?

 
At 11:43 PM, Blogger orthomom said...

He brought me a nice amount of visitors, but today they all seemed to have come back without his link. So my numbers are higher today then yesterday. Go figure.

 
At 12:16 AM, Blogger Air Time said...

If I don't get a satisfactory response from the Knish, I am going to war with them.

I would've posted on a different thread, but I want you to hit 50.

 
At 9:01 AM, Blogger Just Passing Through said...

50!

I know the guy from a long time ago. Not a bad guy, but let me know when we're going to the mattresses.

 
At 10:57 AM, Blogger orthomom said...

51! unbelievable. Maybe if I post less often...

 
At 11:13 AM, Blogger Air Time said...

They gave me some attribution, which means no going to the mattresses.

Which is kind of too bad. A flaming Blog war might have been fun, and increased readership all around.

 
At 11:39 AM, Blogger Just Passing Through said...

Mom, just spice it up. Quality not quantity.

Air, I was kinda hoping for a war too. They wussed out. Wimps.

 
At 11:54 AM, Blogger Air Time said...

They did the right thing. I just think it would have been more fun if they had not.

 
At 12:04 PM, Blogger orthomom said...

Uh, thanks for the blogging tip, JPT. Not that comment tallies mean much. Not all of my 4,680 visitors choose to comment, you know.

 
At 1:09 PM, Blogger Just Passing Through said...

Ooww & touche.

Sure, after you lost the first place spot. All in jest, I mean if DovBear can give you advice, why can't I? Besides, the 'quality not quantity' was a line I used at Air a while back. Seeing if he picked up on it.

 
At 3:43 PM, Blogger orthomom said...

OF COURSE you can give me advice. But can't I be obnoxious? ;)

 
At 3:47 PM, Blogger orthomom said...

I'm sorry, did I say 4680? I meant 4728. My bad.

 
At 10:25 PM, Blogger Air Time said...

You do realize that the Just Passing Through cover has been viewed more often than the Orthomom cover.

 
At 8:24 AM, Blogger bar daas said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 8:26 AM, Blogger orthomom said...

Yeah, yeah, I know. Just trying to save face here. :)

 
At 9:24 AM, Blogger Just Passing Through said...

Air, put Orthomom's without a shirt and I guarantee that her's will shoot through the roof.

 
At 10:55 AM, Blogger Air Time said...

Then I'll get banned by the Knish

 
At 10:58 AM, Blogger Just Passing Through said...

No. I think it would help their readership too.

 
At 12:38 PM, Blogger orthomom said...

That'll change my image!

 
At 1:48 PM, Blogger Air Time said...

depends on the model

 
At 3:36 PM, Blogger Just Passing Through said...

well, that's where your creativity comes into play

 
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