May 5, 2010 5:42 pm at 5:42 pm #591629
Why do no Yeshivas publish guidelines for whether one will qualify for tuition assistance? I understand that each case is different and must ultimately be decided on an individual basis, but there should still be some general guidelines that one can look to. For example, the yeshiva can list expenses which it does not consider necessary. i.e. up to X dollars on a car lease. X amount of vacations. Also, an income level that qualifies based on number of children. Again, this would be an estimate, but would force the system to run on a set of rules as opposed to the arbitrary feel it has to it currently.
May 5, 2010 9:55 pm at 9:55 pm #684795
The sad fact is, it really does cost more to educate a child than the school charges. Rent, salaries, and food will eat up most of the tuition dollars they take in.
How about this as a guide; 5% of your salary per child, with a maximum of 15% of your salary, regardless of how many kids you have in school.
That way the folks making a ton of money would help offset the working class and everyone feels like a mentch. Not some arbitrary number from the tuition board, a fixed ammount, much like maaser.
And no, I’m not opening a school. The idea of a 6 day work week gives me goosebumps!
May 6, 2010 1:25 pm at 1:25 pm #684796
“The sad fact is, it really does cost more to educate a child than the school charges.”
You may be correct – but who would know? They don’t publish financials. Comparisons to public schools is not accurate due to the large amount of wasted funds there and other activities not available in Yeshivas.
May 6, 2010 1:51 pm at 1:51 pm #684797
“The sad fact is, it really does cost more to educate a child than the school charges.”
that’s not true, it cost about 4-4.5k a child, they charge between 6 and 8k because a large number of ppl don’t pay 4k.
what they should do is charge 4k and ask for donations to cover the ppl that don’t pay full tuition
May 6, 2010 1:57 pm at 1:57 pm #684798
That way the folks making a ton of money would help offset the working class and everyone feels like a mentch.
I don’t this is the right way to do it.
Lets take Family A: Husband and Wife together earn $150,000 and have 5 kids. Each tuition costs $5,000 plus some fees so they pay $27,500 in tuition. Their after tax (and heath care) take home pay is around $95,000. Subtract $9,500 maaser. Then subtract $600/month for both of them to commute [assume one public transportation and one car with insurance]. Now you are down to $78,500. Then subtract tuition and you are at $51,000. Food for a family of 7 is around $700/month, now you are down to $42,400. Assume a mortgage payment is around $2500/month. You are down to $21,000. Clothing is $300/year per person (including shoes, coats, suits etc) you are down to $18,900. Life Insurance for the parents is $2000/year. $16,900. Utilities (electric, gas, water, phone, internet, cell phone) $700/month. $8,500 left. Medical costs (copays, medicine etc) – $200/per person/year. $7,100. School supplies (books, paper, etc) – $100/ per student/ year. $6,600. And since both parents are working full time, its a lot harder to function without a cleaning lady (although that is a luxury so I won’t count it). Should they be subsidizing a family with a stay at home mom? Sure, that family is earning less, but the wife being home makes the home run smoother (generally). Assuming that there aren’t three little kids at home in addition to the five in school (daycare costs would probably offset earnings), shouldn’t the woman go to work instead of being subsidized?
I think our society has begun to rely too much on communal support. Its time to figure out new ways for each person to be able to afford tuition. Family A is not wealthy by any stretch of imagination. We can only lean on the rich so much.
Keep in mind that where I live, tuition is $15,000 a year.
May 6, 2010 3:27 pm at 3:27 pm #684799
As another already posted, without budget disclosure by the day schools, it’s impossible to explain significant tuition differences even within the same state, let alone address them.
Even taking into consideration differing median income levels between towns (http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/), it’s hard to fathom how base-line tuition in in the lower grades in my town, for example, is ~$9K/yr while in a town 10 miles away the cost is almost double for the same grade). Where does that “extra” money go?
May 6, 2010 3:51 pm at 3:51 pm #684800
What about summer camp/ bungalow colony?
May 6, 2010 4:01 pm at 4:01 pm #684801
BP Totty – “That way the folks making a ton of money would help offset the working class and everyone feels like a mentch.”
Why stop at yeshiva tuitions? Rich people should also pay for my other family expenses and necessities, such as: clothing, food, car, camp, bungalow, simchas, etc.
May 6, 2010 4:03 pm at 4:03 pm #684802
I agree – but take issue with some of your assumptions.
1. You are not mechuyav to give ma’aser at the 10% of gross figure if it will entail financial hardship. There are also many ways one can calculate ma’aser (after tax, after tax minus essential expenses, etc).
2. Where are property tax and insurance bills in your calculation? Included in the $2,500 mortgage figure? Hardly, at least in the NY/NJ area.
3. That tax figure is high, I think, for the average homeowner. Remember that contributions to charity are tax deductible – so assuming the couple is in the 25% tax bracket, that $9,500 maaser amount is really $7,125. Commuting costs can be tax deductible up to $230 per month, so that reduces taxes by another $690 ($230*12*.25). Add in some mortgage interest, state income and local property tax deduction, exemptions for self, spouse, and children, and possibly some child-care deduction (if young children) and that $55K tax bill can be a bit lower.
4. $1,000 per parent per year for life insurance?? I think that’s quite high, unless the parents are smokers weighing 250lbs each. 😉
May 6, 2010 6:20 pm at 6:20 pm #684803
Cherrybim- you’re going down a slippery slope. By your logic one should live in a one room bungalow and eat bread and water and walk everywhere if that’s what one has to do to pay tuition in full. After all, decent food, 1000 square feet, automotive transportation – those aren’t REALLY needed, right??
May 6, 2010 6:26 pm at 6:26 pm #684804
Woah, what an avalanche I started! OK, let me digest this overnight and reply tomorow.
May 6, 2010 6:36 pm at 6:36 pm #684805
Cherrybim, I’m not saying I agree 100% to this way of thinking, but I think I can argue somewhat plausibly that certain services and payments that are one’s communal “obligations” should be treated as progressive taxes and not commodities. American income tax structure is theoretically progressive on the whole – the more money you make the higher your tax percentage (bracket). The government understands that simply dividing the cost of running the nation equally by the number of (legal) residents or households is an extremely inequitable undertaking and, more importantly, can be unsustainable. Our society understands that government expenditures funded from tax money generally, eventually, benefit the country as a whole – thus, we have a progressive system.
The same might be said for tuition. Communal pressures, stigmas, and logic leave frum Jews little or no choice but to give their kids a Jewish day school education. No one will argue that mass Jewish education will at the very least spiritually benefit the Jewish community as a whole. Because of the obligation, one could possibly argue for modeling the school funding structure after our progressive income tax system.
May 6, 2010 8:46 pm at 8:46 pm #684806
EJ, I meant to write $1,000 for life insurance.
And the mortgage is “light” – I figured that would offset doing the tax calculations. My point was that $150k sounds nice and rich, but isn’t by any stretch of the imagination.
DP, bungalow colonies are luxuries. Day came for those of us working is mandatory. That’s where the leftovers would go…
I personally think we have to realize that Yeshiva education is classified as a luxury. Teaching your children Torah is NOT a luxury but paying for an expensive education is.
Then you need to decide what luxury to give up – eating chicken every night vs paying tuition. Or maybe even homeschooling.
If people were required to pay 100% of tuition costs no matter what the situation, I wonder how many people would cut back on non-essentials (and go to eating rice and beans).
May 7, 2010 1:26 pm at 1:26 pm #684807
enlightenedjew – “I think I can argue somewhat plausibly that certain services and payments that are one’s communal “obligations” should be treated as progressive taxes and not commodities.”
Yes, however, the obligation and responsibility to educate your children in Torah study falls on you, not society. So if you can’t educate your children in Torah, you need to hire someone to do it. I’ve never seen anyone become poor because he paid too much tuition.
May 7, 2010 2:25 pm at 2:25 pm #684808
Item Cost / Month
Rent $ 1,200
Rebbie $ 4,200
Food ($3 / day) $ 1,500
Teachers $ 1,200
Support Staff $ 1,000
Administration $ 800
In the school my boys go / went to, many of the parents could not pay even close to $4000, so asking $4.5k – $5k as a base tuition is not only a reasonable request, its probably the only way they can keep the doors open. The gap (which there must surely be) gets raised on the outside.
Your numbers were pretty much in sync with what I had in mind, with a few minor adjustments:
salary $ 150,000
after tax $ 112,500
max tuition $ 16,875
maaser $ 8,500
transp. $ 7,200
food $ 17,000
rent $ 30,000
clothing $ 2,000
utilitis $ 10,000
med $ 1,500
misc $ 5,000
total expenses $ 98,075
balance $ 14,425
5) The daycare cost vs being a stay-at-home mom is a situation that I was never in, so its unfair for me to comment on it. But in the end, its probably a wash, so either way the numbers are unchanged.
With careful budgeting, the $150k family can just make it thru the summer as well. Not each kid to sleepaway, or Bungalow plus sleepaway, but they can make it (I do, and on a lot less than $150k)
The things you list are not necessities; schooling is, so we (the rich) need to help the not so rich afford the necessities. A new shaitel is not a necessity. (Though I might be on the same page with you when it comes to Uman J)
At the end of the day, when all is said an done, lets remember this: Hashem gives some of us greater resources, and He expects us to help out those who (for whatever reason) were given less. I for one, am very happy to be in the 1st group!
May 7, 2010 5:01 pm at 5:01 pm #684809
SJS and BP-
Thanks for the clarification – $1K seems a more sensible #.
Cherrybim, tuition payments (full tuition) are budget busters for countless families. How can you never saw anyone become poor from paying tuition!!!??? Many, many families borrow (i.e. pay other expenses on credit and carry balances) to meet tuition requirements – if you HAVE to borrow and carry a balance, you can’t afford it.
Also, have you ever heard of NNJKids? They operate on the very philosophy you so blithely dismissed – that future Jewish education is incumbent upon the community, not the individual. Instead of nit-picking on minutiae, NNJKids is trying to think creatively outside the box to help families cope with burgeoning tuition costs. Narrow views will lead us on down the garden path to economic ruin.
May 7, 2010 5:11 pm at 5:11 pm #684810
BP Totty – There is nothing that I wrote in the post you cite that should have been taken seriously; it was written with sarcasm to make a point.
I hope others got it.
May 7, 2010 5:37 pm at 5:37 pm #684811
BP, you left out healthcare costs. Thats generally a few thousand dollars a year in premiums. Then add in summer camp (I’m talking day camp) because both parents are working – daycamp for 5 kids? Has to be at least $5,000 right? I don’t have kids in daycamp yet. And not everyone agrees with the tuition/maaser thing. What we were told was that 100% of our maaser money can go to tuition. It will cover a fraction.
MO schools around here (which are really the only schools in Teaneck) are between $12-18,000 per child. Most people have two working parents on professional salaries (so probably earning between $100-200,000 easily) and tuition is hard to come by. Average family here is around 4 kids – thats $60,000 after tax money. You need to earn $85,000 basically to pay for that. Add in the fact that property taxes are $10,000 a year easily, and most people pay at least $3,000 in mortgage, often more.
I could bus my kids around for 45 minutes away to cheaper options. But am I really going to do that to my son when he is 4 years old? Especially when the schools here have amazing educations (both kodesh and chol).
NNJKids is a nice idea but sort of just relies on the same people who are contributing to the schools anyway.
Our public schools here are funded at $18,000 per child. Can I really complain about $15,000?
May 7, 2010 6:15 pm at 6:15 pm #684812
Does that mean I won’t see you there? (kidding!)
Living in BP as I do, I’ve got access to the best the world of Rebbes and Chasiddus has to offer, so plane rides are not on my must have list. Besides, drop into any Bresslover shteeble, and you’ll see that R’ Nachman is alive and well in the here and now. I davened maariv there one night and sefira was a 10 minute avoidah. And these folks were not putting on a show, they meant it for real.
Back to the business at hand –
I thought at the $100k level, the family gets healthcare from their job. And anyone with the green light for applying all their maaser $ towards tuition, SHOULD. Its as worthy as any cause out there. As far as busing a 4 year old ( a 4 year old! oh, do I miss those days!) you are right; that’s nuts. But Teaneck (or Monsey) is a lot prettier than Bklyn, and it comes at a cost. 60K.. ouch!
Bottom line: good education doesn’t cost.. it pays!
Look at the bright side. People undertake a 20-25 year mortgage and all they have to show for it is a house that may or may not be worth what they paid. A well educated child is a 12-15 year mortgage, and it pays dividends for life and for generations!
If it any consolation, I’m in the same boat, but I’m almost at the phasing out stage, so I can tell you from experience (gee, I sound old!) it was (and is) worth every penny.
May 7, 2010 6:23 pm at 6:23 pm #684813
I forgot one point. The bungalow is a much cheaper option than summer camp (day, and certainly sleepaway) if you can get the summer off. Only the very wealthy (or very frugal) can afford both at the same time.
Many bumgalow goers I know take along a teen-age niece or sister as a mother’s helper for the summer and mom commutes to the city for 2-3 days a week. That way kids are in the mountains, the teen girl in too (without paying for camp) and the weekends are free. Welcome to life in the double income world with older kids at home. Is it a necessity? We say yes, and we pay dearly for it.
May 7, 2010 6:46 pm at 6:46 pm #684814
As many have said, Torah education is not a luxury but a necessity. And let’s face it, most frum families could not give a proper Torah education on their own – they need a well run school.
However, what is a luxury is a Torah education at a frills-laden school such as our present day Yeshivos Ktana, Bais Yaacovs, Mesivtas, etc. When I went to school (which, if you recall my old posts, was when Arnold Fine was in diapers) a Torah school was a building with a mainstream curriculum and hardly a frill to be found. A science lab was a room with a sink and a gas hookup for bunsen burners.
It is wonderful that the present day schools have multiple curriculum tracks, resource rooms, cutting edge technology, and myriads of other educational frills. It is wonderful that the buildings are air-conditioned to 5 degrees below what the kids’ parents keep their own homes. All this is wonderful – but it is a large part of why yeshivos are unaffordable.
I am a strong believer that if you can’t afford it, it’s not worth having. And the yeshivos (read: parent body) cannot afford the frills.
May 7, 2010 6:46 pm at 6:46 pm #684815
I thought at the $100k level, the family gets healthcare from their job.
That does not necessarily mean that the company pays 100% of the premiums… or even anywhere close to it.
May 7, 2010 7:20 pm at 7:20 pm #684816
Good point about healthcare and maaser. Unfortunately payments for tuition at private schools are not tax-deductible as charitable contributions, I think.
SJS, I beg to differ about NNJ, I wouldn’t dismiss it so readily. My reason for mentioning it was to respond to Cherrybim’s comment that the obligation rests squarely on parents’ shoulders and it’s their shoulders that should bear the brunt.
BP, back to you – yes, education does pay. We want to see our children succeed in yahadus and have a chance at making a respectable parnassa. However, it’s coming at an increasingly higher cost these days and takes a bigger emotional, social, and financial toll than it once did. That price is becoming very steep. Furthermore, tuition payments help keep money out of retirement and targeted (eg saving for making a wedding, etc). Who’s going to fund parents’ living expenses when they can’t work anymore and have little or no savings? Their kids? Uncle Sam (and then he’ll raise taxes? Something to consider.
The problem here is that many families just cannot theoretically afford tuition these days. I know it’s nice and easy to say that tuition always pays, but that doesn’t even begin to answer what is a firmly entrenched economic problem.
May 7, 2010 7:47 pm at 7:47 pm #684817
“As many have said, Torah education is not a luxury but a necessity.”
All the more reason to treat tuition economically as a tax
May 7, 2010 7:52 pm at 7:52 pm #684818
Coupled with NNJKids, my tax point is that the “tax” should apply to the Jewish community – the ENTIRE Jewish community (non denominational – conservative, reform, etc). The tax should be progressive.
That’s the best way to get our schools the funding they need and help our parents who are shouldering this burden. Economic strength in numbers.
There’s almost no economic way the frum community can shoulder the burden for all of its many schools alone.
May 7, 2010 8:09 pm at 8:09 pm #684819
enlightenedjew (why would you call yourself a haskala yid?)-
Then let the schools abandon all the frills and their associated costs before placing the burden on the general public. Don’t tax me and then spend the money on smartboards and electron microscopes. I’ll pay for your walls, your rebbeim and teachers in reasonable proportion to student population, books and nothing else. A couple of thousand per child would do it easily.
May 10, 2010 4:05 pm at 4:05 pm #684820
My kids’ schools have no frills- no lab, not even a computer lab!- and still charge over $6,000/child plus building fee, dinner fee, registration fee…
May 10, 2010 7:20 pm at 7:20 pm #684821
I just spoke to my cousin who is on the scholarship commity of a well known MO school (name withheld to protect his identity).
He said the way they look at it is:
1) Parents have to be making an effort. If the mother is a SAHP (without little kids), they require her to get a job before asking for a scholarship. If the she is working short hours, they ask her to work longer hours. (Obviously, if she can find a job and get more hours)
2) In cases where people have homes with lots of equity, they will ask the person to take out a home equity loan to cover tuition.
3) They don’t mind if a small amount of money goes into savings every month (not like $1,000/month, but lets say $2-300). They think its important to budget for emergencies.
4) He said cleaning help is ok for full time working parents as long as its limited (meaning, not full time unless that includes child care with cleaning type of situation).
I thought it was interesting to hear his take on scholarships.
May 10, 2010 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm #684822
Save $2-300 per month? And he feels this is being responsible? What emergency could be handled on $300? In the NNJ community, $300 is gas money for one car!
And the school has him making deternimations of a financial matter? And I thought the BP tuition boards were underqualified.
I know very little about NNJ, but I do know a thing or two about money. And rule # 1 is, a head of household needs 6 months of the annual budget in the bank, ready cash. Not stocks, not equity in the home; liquid m-o-n-e-y.
That would mean if you make (and presumibly spend 80% of) $250k, you would need to have close to $30k in the bank at at all times. How in the world do they expect that at $300 per month?
(Did they really suggest to someone to draw against their house!? PLease tell me that was a joke)
May 10, 2010 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm #684823
You are correct, in as much as you can’t commit to a Harvard education if you cannot afford it. And while Harvard (or the yeshiva equivalent) may not be negotiable, the 2nd tier schools (which by the way, are very good, just not as “bells and whistles” top heavy) will work with you.
Now, to be fair to the schools, if you choose to live in NNJ or the fancy parts of Monsey, and pay dearly for the glam lifestyle you should be prepared to pay for the luxury of a top $chool as well (no, that was not a type-o).
That’s why my opening remark was 5% of your salary should be your target tuition. That’s reasonable and that’s what I aim for and the schools (so far, at least) go along with me. (Hope I do as well with BMG!)
May 11, 2010 2:27 pm at 2:27 pm #684824
BPTotty, most schools tell you that you can’t put ANY money into savings if you want a scholarship. Does your mortgage company allow you to forgo paying your mortgage so you can sock some money away?
And yes, they did tell some people to draw money from their home. If someone has a house that they paid little for and has a lot of equity in it, why should someone else foot their tuition bill? That’s like saying “I have a bunch of stocks but I don’t want to sell them. Can I get a scholarship?”
You have to understand – whatever reduction you want in tuition has to come from somewhere. Money does NOT grow on trees. Teacher salaries have to paid, utilities have to paid, supplies/books bought etc. If it costs $5,000/child and you only pay $4,000, then $1,000 has to come from somewhere. Its nice to say “Oh 5% of your salary” but that won’t pay the bills!
NNJ is in no way a “glam” lifestyle. And since average family size is 3-5, and in lakewood is 8-10, when you factor in people in NNJ generally have 2 working parents with higher paying jobs, I think the struggle to put 3-5 kids through Yeshiva balances with the struggle to put 8-10.
Squeak, providing a no frills schools is not really the answer. People in Northern NJ want the better education the schools have to offer, they just can’t afford it. If they wanted to, there is a school in Staten Island that with busing is around $8,000. That’s about half a tuition! People want the top notch education and don’t want to pay the price. It doesn’t work that way…you can only have top notch if you can afford it. I am willing to forgo most things (including eating rice and beans if I can get my husband on board LOL) to ensure my kids have a great education.
May 11, 2010 5:29 pm at 5:29 pm #684825
My comment was directed at those who feel there is a communal obligation to keep the schools afloat. My take is that the community may or may not have the obligation to provide Torah education, but stop there. Anything else is the whim of the parent body and must be paid for by them.
May 11, 2010 5:39 pm at 5:39 pm #684826
Squeak, we agree!
Although I don’t feel that its really the communal obligation – that’s really the parents obligation, unless the parents are unable to. And unable to doesn’t mean not wanting to send to a lower quality school or not wanting to cut down on the car you drive. It means an orphan, a widow without means etc.
May 11, 2010 5:44 pm at 5:44 pm #684827
Big difference, SJS, between tuition (which is not a option) and the size of your mortgage (which you chose to undertake, based on the cost of your house)
To draw $ from your home for anything other than renovating that same home is suicide. It means that eventualy your home (in most cases the BIGGEST asset a person has) will be worth less than they paid for it. That’s what they refer to on the news as the “mortgage crisis”
By the way, did you show your cousin the data I guessed at? I’d be curious to see what he thinks. And while you’re at it, ask him if he thinks his school budget would be better or worse off if he collected the 5% I suggested.
As far as the gap in kids between Lakewood and NNJ, that is not a topic I feel comfortable discussing. (needless to say, I have an opnion, but one that is best kept to myself)
As far as the quality of life in NNJ and Rockland Co, just compare the cars, clothing, vacations (summer, winter and Pesach), ect and judge for yourself. Sure, BP (and most likely Lakewood) have there fancy parts, but for the most part, its hardscrabble and hard knocks)
May 11, 2010 6:12 pm at 6:12 pm #684828
BPTotty, if you bought your home for $200k and its now worth $400k, that’s $200k in equity sitting there. If you have “spare” $200k shouldn’t you give SOME to tuition? Your house is an INVESTMENT. It is comparable to stocks in terms of equity.
Think of it this way:
Family A has a house that has $200k in equity but doesn’t use it. They have 3 kids and instead of paying $30,000 a year for tuition pays $15,000. Family B rents instead of buying because they can’t afford tuition if they buy and pay $30,000 in tuition. School has to fundraise $15,000/year for family A. When all kids are out of school, Family A ends up with a nice nest egg because someone else donated money to the school. Family B has nothing because they paid full tuition.
My cousin never said they asked people to bankrupt themselves. The committee has limited scholarships to give out and if someone has an investment to tap into, they should. They aren’t asking people to mortgage up ot the hilt, but to contribute fairly.
Schools are not looking to make profits, they are looking to pay their bills. If you can’t pay your portion, it has to come from somewhere.
I’m not sure what your knowledge of Northern NJ is. I live in Teaneck – in a middle class neighborhood (with some rich people). Clothing is much more simple than in Brooklyn or Lakewood (for example, many boys wear nice pants and a button down shirt for Shabbos instead of a full suit – so savings right there. Women rarely wear suits.) Cars are more of a necessity in Teaneck than in Brooklyn, but most people don’t drive fancy cars. People don’t walk around dripping in diamonds. Few people I know do Winter and Summer vacations and don’t go away for Pesach.
Cost of living is higher here sure. But most people I know living in Brooklyn live on a much higher reference than those in Teaneck. Especially when it comes to clothing.
As to the number of children – I’m not commenting on how many children to have or not. I’m just saying that a family in Teaneck with 3 kids in school has a $45,000 obligation for tuition. A family in Lakewood with 9 children ALSO has a $45,000 tuition obligation.
And tuition IS optional. You can homeschool your kids or you can hire a rebbe for a talmud torah type environment. Most things in life are optional, with the exception of basic shelter, basic clothing and food.
May 11, 2010 9:18 pm at 9:18 pm #684829
I’d like throw my two cents into this as someone who has kids in school in LA. I have 3 kids and if I were to pay full tuition my obligation would be $61,000 PLUS dinner fees, building fees, and every other little fee they come up with, and that would be after the $500 – $750 “registration fee” PER CHILD. To add a little insult to injury, to be considered for scholarship, we must pay an additional fee of $25 – $30 (little I know, but a fee to ask for help???) How is a family like ours supposed to pay a tuition like that when earning $130,000/yr. with both parents working full time?
It always felt weird to me that many of the Rabbeim in the school own their own homes, pay no tuition, work 3/4 of the day and we’re working hard full time and renting, I won’t even go into the issue of putting money away. Cars are a necessity in LA so no savings there, food costs are ridiculous so obviously big vacations are out of the question, as well as a cleaning lady.
This tuition situation is a huge problem for the Jewish community. We can’t put our kids in public school and home schooling doesn’t work for the families where both parents work. So making choices and begging for a scholarship are the only way to go. How many times do I have to walk into a tuition committee for them to say “So are things better this year?” I don’t think they get it, things aren’t better or worse, they are the same, I earn the same money, I live in the same place, my kids are a year older and cost me more. How does that justify me paying them more?
The system will crumble at some point. It is built on a poor foundation, it can’t continue this way.
May 11, 2010 9:38 pm at 9:38 pm #684830
“The system will crumble at some point.”
Been hearing that way too long for it to be taken credibly.
It’s a bit like all those predicting the demise of Chareidikeit or Orthodoxy for the past 60 years.
May 11, 2010 9:49 pm at 9:49 pm #684831
Been hearing that way too long for it to be taken credibly.
It’s a bit like all those predicting the demise of Chareidikeit or Orthodoxy for the past 60 years.
Maybe, maybe not.
But it is, undoubtedly, much harder at this point, for parents to afford tuition. And with that increased difficulty, more and more parents will simply opt out. I personally know of parents who have opted out because it was just too much financially to bear.
Perhaps you’re right that the system won’t crumble. But more and more people will drop out of the system… and that’s also bad.
May 11, 2010 9:51 pm at 9:51 pm #684832
I can’t comment on the tuition bill in teaneck, but I highly doubt anyone is paying that in Lakewood. And guess what? For what you pay in Teaneck for a modest home, you can get a palace in Lakewood (ok, the commute will be longer), but you will save a bundle in tution (Gosh, for even $30g I would be a hero in my school)
And messing with the equity in your house is nuts, plain and simple. Its the untouchable. Its what most folks retire on, and seeing as how life expectancy is getting longer and longer, that money will need to be there for you. Bottom line: put a reasonable cap on tuition. If everyone paid a fair share (and by everyone I mean teachers / rebbeim too) there would be almost enought $ to support the yeshiva system. Would we need to fund raise? Sure. Would schools need to reign in their spending? Sure.
That’s what we call fiscal responsibility.
May 11, 2010 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm #684833
BP, so I should pick up and move to Lakewood? So for starters, my 1 hour commute (each way) would turn into a 2-2.5 hour commute (yes, I’ve done that when visiting my sister). So instead of 2 hours commuting, I am now at 4.5. I wake up at 5 am right now, so I would have to wake up at 4 am. Now I get home at 6 pm, I wouldn’t get home until 7:30 pm. My husband would also be home later. So not only did I add time to my day, I added more commuting costs (its like $35/round trip from Lakewood, from teaneck its $8.50) and I added 2.5 hours and I now have to pay for later childcare. How many places do you know that are open 6 am to 7:30 pm?
OK so my mortgage is cheaper. Assume an interest rate of 5%, thats $500/month per $100,000 savings (roughly). Houses in my sisters area are around $300,000 which is $200,000 less than Teaneck (modest house). So I save $1,000, but need to add in an extra $27/day in commuting expenses for me, 1.5 hours of childcare (assume $15 for the extra time) and extra gas and tolls for my husband to drive. If you assume 21 business days a month, that’s $1,000 right there.
So my savings would be only for tuition and some property taxes. Because I wouldn’t be seeing my kids at all. For that, I might as well bus my children to Staten Island.
What’s the point? Moving is not always the solution.
Want to take away the benefit of teachers getting free tuition? They will demand more money. After all, they aren’t stupid – they know its the best reason to be a teacher in a Jewish school. So tuition costs still go up to cover the increase in teachers salaries.
Capping tuition costs does nothing because it doesn’t guarantee paying the bills. If no one in Lakewood is paying $45,000 for 9 kids (according to my sister tuition waws $5,000 a year per child so I’m using that), then either the school doesn’t really cost $5,000 a child so base tuitions builds lots of scholarships in OR someone is privately footing the bill. Money doesn’t grow on trees.
May 11, 2010 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm #684834
And messing with the equity in your house is nuts, plain and simple. Its the untouchable. Its what most folks retire on, and seeing as how life expectancy is getting longer and longer, that money will need to be there for you.
So what you are saying is that you are putting your retirement over the value of a Jewish education. Because SOMEONE has to pay for it. Is there waste? Sure. But if tuition is being charged at $5,000 a student, you can bet the waste may be closer to $500/student than $4,000/student. Why should you be able to save for retirement while others are footing your tuition bill? Please explain how the equity in your home is different from having lots of stocks for retirement.
May 12, 2010 4:36 pm at 4:36 pm #684835
I just received my tuition bill for next year from my son’s yeshiva (in Brooklyn) and the base tuition increased by 15%. In addition, they did away with the discounts that they gave me in the past years. Are they serious??? in this recession??
May 12, 2010 4:51 pm at 4:51 pm #684836
In this recession they have to pay their higher bills too.
May 12, 2010 4:58 pm at 4:58 pm #684837
But 15%? that’s outrageous. I don’t get a 15% raise at work.
May 12, 2010 5:11 pm at 5:11 pm #684838
puppydog, less people can afford tuition now. They need more scholarships and need people to pay more.
If they up your tuition by 15% and settle on a 10% increase, you’ll be happier than if they said 10% increase no questions.
Costs have gone up somewhat but there are less people to pay for it.
May 12, 2010 5:27 pm at 5:27 pm #684839
Since I don’t commute, I can’t say for sure, but I doubt its more than 90 minutes to NYC in the morning, probably a bit less on the way home (assuming you don’t leave the city at 5:00). I know several people that do commute, and aside from the occasional mis-hap, no one is talking 2.5 hour rides (for that, I could live in the could live in the mtns all year).
Obviously, you can’t just up and move. But you (presumibly) knew the cost of living in Teaneck before settling down, and tuition is part of that COL.
The differnence between losing your stock value as oppposed to losing your home value is this: If your stock goes to nil, its a paper loss. If your home goes the same way and gets forclosed your’re out on the sidwalk or forced to move in with your kids (not sure which I would dread more, if C’V I ever came to that).
As far as cost caps (both tuition, staff salary, school spending) if some sort of equitable formula was in place, everyone would benefit. That’s what analysis is all about. It helps you plan for the future. And yes, if a rebbie (or teacher) knew their salary was going to be a) capped and b) based on performance (a lot like mine is) he / she would plan accordingly. I do this, why should’nt they?
But one funny idea did come to mind yesterday on the way home; if the “better education” the NNJ schools promote fiscal irresponsibility (using home equity to fund tuition!) and highly educated (and most likely college educated) parents are not saving at least 10% of their income, than how are those kids (and at the costly tuition) any better off than their BP or Lakewood bare-bones tuition counterparts?
Makes you wonder….
May 12, 2010 5:27 pm at 5:27 pm #684840
puppydogs: Negotiate, pay or move.
Its not raised costs, its less money going in (due to more people on tzedaka), and the inability to reject anyone due to non-payment.
May 12, 2010 5:38 pm at 5:38 pm #684841
Puppydog – While you took the time to do the math and came up with 15%, the school board most likey just picked a random number they felt (hoped?) you would just swallow. Fight it, you can probably get them to accept 5% this year, and another 5% the years after that. And don’t accept the cutbacks. But answer this question to yourself before calling; is your tuition in line with the 5% / 15% cap I’ve been hocking about?
Oh and just so we are all on the same page; 5% is based on your “adjusted” net income (how many kids, ect) but that’s a thread in itself, so I don’t want to go off to that topic here.
Bottom line: are you paying you fair share? If so, you can and probably will sway them. If not, well, perhaps you might reconsider upping the ante to be in line with they truly can expect for someone like yourself. Again, this is not something we need to know, but something that you should (the answer might surprise you).
FYI – I once had this discussion with my shul buddies (how much is the right ammount to spend in shul) and by my own math, I was short a few hundred $, so within a short while, I made up the difference. Math is funny that way.. it doesn’t play favorites!
May 12, 2010 7:34 pm at 7:34 pm #684842
The differnence between losing your stock value as oppposed to losing your home value is this: If your stock goes to nil, its a paper loss. If your home goes the same way and gets forclosed your’re out on the sidwalk or forced to move in with your kids (not sure which I would dread more, if C’V I ever came to that).
That’s false. I know plenty of people under water (meaning their mortgage is higher than their house value). All it means is that if you can’t afford your house payment you may be foreclosed. As long as you can afford that, you won’t be kicked out.
If your stock goes to zero, you lost out on money. Its not a paper loss. You put money INTO the stocks, the same way you put money into your house.
If I have equity, I should tap into before making someone else pay. That goes for schooling and any other bills that are MY responsibility.
As to the commute – its 90 minutes PLUS travel within NYC. I don’t work right near port authority. Sure I knew about tuition and COLA in NNJ when I moved – I’m just pointing out the struggle is similiar across the board.
Lets say we cap spending. Certain costs are NOT fixed. And certain costs rise much faster than the rate of salary increases (that’s really what’s been happening in the last 10 years). Just to give an example: when my parents bought a house, a middle class house cost 1 year of my fathers’s salary (they bought in Monsey, but in Teaneck houses were comparable in price). In Teaneck now, it costs 4 years worth of both me and my husband’s salaries. Costs have risen greatly, but salaries have not kept up. That’s one of the big problems facing schools today.
As to the secular education: the kids coming out of the cheaper schools (like the ones in Lakewood that have very limited limudei chol) are not being properly prepared for college. They will have a much harder time getting in and making it through a program. They will have worse job prospects and worse salaries (as a general rule), making it hard for the next generation.
So yes, I would rather pay more and have my child well educated. Its still expensive though.
May 12, 2010 8:34 pm at 8:34 pm #684843
Sounds like a cycle of doom. On the one hand you have the well-educated child who grows up and qualifies for a high-powered job with a good salary. This person will do likewise for his or her children, and be left with $0 after-tax, after-tuition.
On the other hand you have the under-educated inner-yeshivish-city kids who most likely will never command a high enough salary to afford Teaneck, and will live in a community similar to the one they grew up in. This person will send his or her children to a similar school and be left with $0 after-tax, after-tuition, after scholarship.
What’s the advantage?
May 12, 2010 8:43 pm at 8:43 pm #684844
Squeak, for one, they person who gets a good education is less likely to need to rely on others (wether scholarships, medical assitance, food stamps, section 8, gmachs etc).
And technically, I could bus my kids to Staten Island to recieve a decent education (far better than schools in Lakewood IMHO) and dave about 50% of tuition costs. I just don’t want to bus my kids.
A person with little secular education has less choices. In order to command the type of salary to put 9 kids through school, you need a strong background and a good job. The percentage of those in the yeshivish community is smaller than in MO circles. I would say they are probably relying on breaks to come out to zero.
May 12, 2010 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm #684845
anon for thisParticipant
SJS, there are schools in NNJ outside of Bergen County that are cheaper. These schools offer a more comprehensive secular education than those in Lakewood, though probably not up to Bergen County standards. The secular education in these schools would allow most to succeed in college but would probably not generally qualify one for admission to the Ivy Leagues.
May 13, 2010 1:37 am at 1:37 am #684846
What school are you refrencing?
YNJ is slightly cheaper at $12,000 but there are personal reasons I wouldn’t send my child there.
May 13, 2010 2:26 am at 2:26 am #684847
Lots of highly educated folks out there are making very average salaries, and lots of average-educated ones are earning double their wages.
Just saying that motivation and productivity seem to play a greater role in earning power than education in grades 1-12.
May 13, 2010 5:11 am at 5:11 am #684848
Being a stranger in this country, I have a few questions:
1.Why every year parents need to pay registration fee for the same student in the same school?
2. Why every year parents need to pay application fee for the same student in the same school?
Registration + application fee = a couple hundred dollars per student every year.
4. If most of us try to send our children to good school, to give them a really good education, why our well educated children need to hire a tutor to teach our grandchildren? Why well educated parents not able to teach / to help their own children?
Because their education is not really good or because they do not have time for their children? I’m asking, because my parents were able to help me and my sister and no one of my friends ever had a tutor as well – we had parents for it.
May 13, 2010 6:06 am at 6:06 am #684849
just a few small points, no one speaks of all the little expenses that add up really quickly such as presents for baalei simcha, repairs of house or appliances, etc.. It is almost impossible to stick to the budgets people have described because there are always expenses that are not chesboned in.
A sheitel is not a luxury, a woman that is working needs! to have a decent sheitel and they do not last very long when they are worn on a daily basis.
Equity taken out on a house must be paid back! You can’t borrow on it and pay it back when you sell the house. It becomes another monthly payment that you can’t afford.
May 13, 2010 1:42 pm at 1:42 pm #684850
My Apologies to SJS –
Sorry for the mean, condesending tone of my last remark (BP schools are better than NNJ schools). We (when I say we, I mean all parents) are in the same boat when it comes to getting taken for a ride by the tuition situation, and my wisecrack was uncalled for.
Its too early in the day for me to read if you responded, so just in case you did, I deserved to be put in place. Sorry!
May 13, 2010 2:49 pm at 2:49 pm #684851
This conversation is taking a very disturbing tack. Everyone here, except puppydogs and laguy, is carefully skirting around the elephant in the room – yeshiva tuition is a financial backbreaker for most families and can and will contribute to a severe financial crisis for frum Jews. YES, we all know yeshiva education is a necessity, But over the last 10-20 years, yeshiva tuition costs have skyrocketed alongside general COLA increases, even in markets outside NY/NJ. Economics works on the basic principle of scarce resources: using a resource (money) to pay for X will mean less resource to pay for Y. Tuition eats up more and more of our families’ incomes (POST-tax, mind you) so that there’s increasingly less and less available for retirement savings, savings for bigger ticket items (weddings, brisim, etc, even if modest they do cost some $$$), or savings we can put away for our children. There’s less and less available for everyday expenses as well, forcing families into tighter and tighter budgets as our COL rises, and our property taxes rise across the country to fund, in large part, an education system we don’t ever use. This creates not only financial problems, but mental and shalom bayis problems as well.
Laguy is right. I’m as sick as he is watching schools, heck, our coummunity, expect hardworking, dual-earning parents to pony up 65%-75% of their AFTER-TAX pay to pay for tuition. I challenge anyone here to tell me how an average family living anywhere can get by in today’s world on 25%-35% of their take home pay after tuition is taken into account. Don’t tell me “I put my kids through it, you can too” – housing costs ALONE (let alone other cost of living areas) have increased exponentially, making the current generation’s experience somewhat more harrowing than previous generations’. And don’t tell me to sell my car, get rid of my cell phone, etc. That’d be like digging yourself out of a hole with a teaspoon, not to mention that what many consider “luxuries” are today quasi necessities (I’m thinking car and cell phone here, at least for suburban dwellers).
How are our families going to save for their retirement or their children? Who’ll take care of the current generation when they can no longer work and have little to no savings because they’ve “invested” it in tuition?? Their kids? Who will happen to be struggling with their own, exponentially greater tuition problems??
I’m sick of people just assuming “yeah, it’s hard, but hey, we have to do it.” I’m sick and tired of all the hot air being wasted with discussions and gatherings and diatribes and etc etc etc while we all watch our tuition bills creep up and up and up and up and eat away an ever increasing portion of our finances, making our lives one step closer to financial insolvency.
I’m really tired of seeing the ignorance of basic economics that seems to be prevalent in these discussions.
May 13, 2010 3:05 pm at 3:05 pm #684852
Well said, EJ. It is the yeshivos (and their staff) that need to learn to make do with less, before they ask the parents to do so. There is literally no end to the amount of additional good service the yeshivos can provide to children, but the cost is prohibitive and should be disallowed.
May 13, 2010 3:23 pm at 3:23 pm #684853
Thanks, Squeak. I don’t mean to come off as anti-yeshiva education, or being anti-school. At LEAST some sort of Yeshiva education is nearly a requirement to ensuring the spiritual health of the next dor. Schools are battling rising costs themselves. Admins aren’t evil, they’re just trying to ensure the viability of the institutions that pay their salary. But schools are amorphic entities. They don’t live, breathe, interact on an emotional and physical level with their peers and family members, etc – families do.
What’s frustrating me is that many are advocating for schools and education (“they’re already tapped”, “we need to give the chinuch for our kids”, etc) – but schools and the idea of “chinuch” are inanimate, amorphic objects and concepts. Families aren’t – they’re organic, dynamic entities that need more TLC than bricks and mortar. If all yeshivas nationwide were to spontaneously combust tomorrow, we as a community will still be around and still soldier on. Yahadus would still exist. If many, many families were to break up ch”v, Yahadus would take a serious, serious blow and could be on life support.
In the end, what is more important – preserving the traditional family structure with shalom bayis, etc, or schools and infrastructure (brick and mortar buildings, teachers, administrators)? I’m not saying it’s the old “guns and butter” argument – it’s not necessarily a zero sum game (at this point – it may be 20 years down the road). But what’s more important should be leading the discussion on the subject.
If we let THAT lead the discussion instead of accepting the educational infrastructure at status quo, we may collectively find some interesting things. Things like online education initiatives (K-12, for example) which bends the school structure in possibly sacrificing something for what’s more important – sane, healthy families. I’m hoping my point here is clear…
May 13, 2010 3:35 pm at 3:35 pm #684855
To add to my last post, in response to Squeak – thanks for the encouraging post. My wife and I each take home respectable salaries. We live fairly simply in a nice, but modest home in the NY/NJ area. Yet I find myself struggling at times to just make the monthly bills, and all we have is a baby right now. Just COLA alone will get worse. I look into my family’s financial future and see the strong probability of strained finances until both my wife and I are in the grave amu”sh. It’s disheartening, when you make a good living and work like a dog, and I don’t think I’m the only one who thinks this way.
And let’s not shrei “shver to be a yid!!” The tuition crisis is of our own making; we’ve ignored the economic consequences for far too long and will be paying the price soon. HKBH created the world, and everything in it – the laws of physics, biology, etc – and economics.
May 13, 2010 3:51 pm at 3:51 pm #684857
Not sure how well this will work but the idea just popped into my head.
When I was single, in Yeshiva full time and college part time I was approached by a Yeshiva and asked to teach for 45 minutes a day. (The principal had already checked to make sure I was legally qualified.)
Although I was paid the same amount as other teachers my expenses were minimal (probably $10 a week) and I would have taken the job for a mere fraction of what they offered. I do feel that my experience as a teacher made me into a better parent (ok, ok at the expense of some one else’s kids…).
Here’s the idea-
What if the yeshivas and seminaries would encourage their students to volunteer (or work for a smaller paycheck) for a year or two after high school/ seminary/ Israel before they get married. It doesn’t even have to be teaching it could be cooking, cleaning or even making sure the lights and air-conditioning/ heating is turned off every night.
May 13, 2010 4:14 pm at 4:14 pm #684858
BP Totty, I must have missed that. Don’t worry, I rarely take things too personal. I recognize that all schools have DIFFERENT strengths and weaknesses and we choose according to what is best for our children and families overall.
EJ, we are sort of in the same boat. And its tough. BUT! If people would actively try to reduce their expenses, its amazing what can be cut. Meat and chicken most nights of the week? Cut out a lot of that and switch to beans for your protein – you’ll save a fortune. Cut out cleaning help? A few thousand a year. Turn off and unplug things when not in use – a few hundred a year. These “pennies” add up. I follow a blog called pennilessparenting about a woman in Israel with two little kids and how she lives below the poverty line debt free. Its amazing what she can do to save money. Sure its a lot harder working full time and not taking shortcuts, but we have to decide – is a Yeshiva education worth it to you? There are barebones schools out there for a lot less if you want to bus your kids. I don’t want to do that to them, so I pay the price.
Dr. P – I’m not so sure that would work well. Perhaps though, if parents thought of scholarships as a loan instead of a smaller bill that would work. Repayment would start when your kids are out of high school. People would pay what they could afford every month once their kids are done until their bill was paid. This would also allow the schools to know that some extra money is coming in, even if it turns out to be $50/month or something. Perhaps it should even be tied into inheritence – if you have $100,000 to leave to your kids and owe $50,000 to the school, upon your death that should be paid first, followed by splitting it amongst your kids.
May 13, 2010 4:15 pm at 4:15 pm #684859
BTW I think both schools AND parents need to learn to live with less.
May 13, 2010 4:49 pm at 4:49 pm #684860
I don’t disagree. But what if you’re so busy, both spouses with full time, that you literally have no time for cleaning yourself? Do you let the condition of the house/apt go to pot? Or you spend every waking moment either cleaning or working? And cleaning help doesn’t have to cost thousands per year. But that’s not my point.
So let’s say you’re saving $3.5-$4.5K per year in ‘extraneous’ expenses. That’s nickel and dimes compared to a full tuition burden for, say, 4-5 kids. So you’re still underwater, just not as much. So what have you really accomplished? And, no, tapping equity is not the funding answer because AS WE’VE SEEN real equity can disappear with terrifying speed.
SJS, you’re making good points but we’re talking around the issue. The problem isn’t really what we spend as much as the horrid economics of the system we’ve built for ourselves. We can cut expenses to a point, but one property and/or income tax hike could wipe those savings off the map and we’re right back to square one. The issue really is that tuition costs too much for your average family living in the US. The cost structure based on the infrastructure is flawed. The continued delusion that we can expect average families to pay 60%-70% of after tax income on tuition while being able to afford to live without worrying themselves into a heart attack is ludicrous, ESPECIALLY with all the other (albeit smaller) financial burdens being frum entails.
The issue is that it’s UNREALISTIC to expect all frum families here to sell all their cars, ditch all cell phones, bunk 3 to a room and crowd into a 500 sq ft house and never, ever spend a penny on relaxation ever again in order to afford tuition. People need relaxation and leisure – not being able to relax carries serious health risks. People have the right to spend MODESTLY on relaxing activities and pursuits. The problem is that tuition costs too much money. The problem isn’t that we ALL spend too much.
May 13, 2010 4:59 pm at 4:59 pm #684861
SJS, in asking “is a Yeshiva education worth it to you?” you’re asking the wrong question. Sure it’s worth it, in theory! But if it comes at such a steep cost that it means sleepless nights and mass hypertension, is it REALLY worth it? I’m not doubting its necessity, just it’s WORTH in its current state. I can’t tell you how many times I heard “if only my tuition were lower, I could sleep at night” from friends, acquaintances and colleagues. We all put on a good show and facade in public, in shul, at the shabbos table, but in reality, many, many of us are hurting inside and carrying full time, unhealthy stress because the question of “but isn’t it worth it?” is being asked instead of the statement “it’s no longer affordable in its current state” being said.
We need to alter the focus in the whole discussion. Please see my previous post where I ask what’s more important to yahadus – schools or families. Your posts operate with the assumption that the status quo is fine and WE need to change. That may be true – but only a in small part. We don’t need to change as much as the entire structure needs overhaul.
May 13, 2010 5:02 pm at 5:02 pm #684862
EJ, public schools are funded around $18-19,000 per child. Is $15,000 too much? Sure public schools have lots of extracurricular activities but Yeshivas have a dual curriculum.
Yes its too much of our take home pay. Schools can’t cut back THAT much.
People have a right to spend their money however they want. If you value a yeshiva education, you will cut back on all necessary expenses unless someone else is willing to foot the bill.
I also think a problem is that tuition has built in scholarship. Lets say cost per student is really $12,000/child but the school knows that at that price point, 20% of the student body will ask for scholarships. So they raise the price to $15,000/child and now 23% ask for scholarships. The school has still come out ahead! If you have 4 kids, that $3,000/child is a large factor.
May 13, 2010 5:04 pm at 5:04 pm #684863
and by the way, I think if every family really scrimped it could come out closer to $8-10,000 a year for an average family.
I don’t have cleaning help. Most of my friends do. That’s a few thousand right there. Yes, my house is not as clean, but I am saving up for tuition costs. My son is starting a year from September.
May 13, 2010 5:11 pm at 5:11 pm #684864
EJ is again absolutely correct. The issue of tapping equity is ridiculous. It is only due to a complete lack of financial sophistication that one could suggest such a thing*.
Going into debt for recurring expenses is a financial disaster. It is alright to take out debt for large non recurring expenses (e.g. buying a house or car, financing a wedding or a move, etc) as long as you expect future income to cover it. But debt for predictable, recurring expenses is a big no-no. It can only lead to bankruptcy.
The only solution is for tuition to be an amount that can be afforded year after year based on actual after-tax earnings. Tuition has to be capped at a level that more than 75% of families can afford based on earnings. The schools must find a way to live on this amount, no excuses. If that means 35 kids in a class, used textbooks, A/C at 73 degrees, and no landscaping, then so be it. It will be no worse than the current state.
*The only sound reasoning for suggesting that one taps equity is to prevent clever people from hiding assets by paying down a mortgage.
May 13, 2010 5:15 pm at 5:15 pm #684865
P.S. For folks such as SJS, there can always be a ‘rich man’s school’. No problem with that. The problem is that every school today is a rich man’s school.
May 13, 2010 5:26 pm at 5:26 pm #684866
Squeak, you think schools in Lakewood charging $5,000 a child is a “rich man’s school”?
If there were a better option for me, that didn’t require busing my 3 year old 45 minutes away then I would look into it. I haven’t seen that.
My kids won’t be attending Frisch (HS) because I can’t afford $25,000 a year.
EJ, maybe the question should be “What is a Yeshiva education worth to you?” I understand your point, and I stress out about paying for tuition even though my family tells me not to. I am NOT rolling in dough. Of course families are more important than Yeshiva – we need good, solid stable families. Would you be willing to send your children to a Lakewood type school if it were 1/3 of the price and affordable?
May 13, 2010 5:30 pm at 5:30 pm #684867
SJS, I don’t care about how public schools are funded. I care about yeshivos and our chinuch funding structure. (Actually, I do care about PS – my gargantuan property tax bill helps fund it. So I’m actually paying 1.5X – I assume not all of your 15K figure is funded by my tax – for my kid’s education).
Again the wrong focus. Why are we ignoring the elephant in the room!!!??? We are ASKING THE WRONG QUESTIONS AND MAKING THE WRONG statements. I don’t care how PS is funded AS MUCH as I care about yeshiva since, if I had 4 kids and paid 10K in property tax, my yeshiva bill will FAR outstrip my tax bill. The whole system is more of a problem that what we’re spending COMMUNALLY. yes, I think weddings can get too fancy and pesach spending on cruises is disgustingly luxurious, but the beauty of a market economy is that spending may be largely “in-house” (ie, within the community – it’s usually frum ppl who own catering businesses for example) and that trickles around the communal economy. That spending is also discretionary, while tuition is not – I can turn the spending spigot off if I want when I deem it unaffordable, and economic equilibrium can be maintained. MANDATING unaffordable spending, on the other hand, is a recipe for disaster.
The ECONOMIC structure is almost completely flawed. For example, determining socially what is and isn’t a valid ‘extraneous’ expense vis a vis who qualifies for what discount is a ridiculous way of making chinuch ‘affordable’ and is going down a very, very slippery slope. It’s completely unfair to make one’s committment to chinuch hinge solely on cutting living expenses to the BONE and living on bread and rice, walking all over the place while ditching the car, cell phone, and budgeting for some of the expenses that bring a little bit of comfort an joy into our otherwise stressful and busy lives (a new sheitel once in a blue moon, going out to eat on a birthday, buying a little something for our wives, buying a beautiful new sefer, etc etc etc etc etc). Not wanting to live like a complete ascetic does NOT mean you don’t value tuition – spare me the righteous quid pro quos.
May 13, 2010 5:32 pm at 5:32 pm #684868
SJS, not being in the education market myself, I am unaware of what it is that Lakewood schools are compromising relative to Frisch to create such a disparity. I can only assume that the Lakewood schools are sacrificing education.
If they are sacrificing education, then their tuition could be further lowered by consolidating and eliminating waste from their expenses. I am imagining these schools have little or no secular education, but run heat and a/c at excessive levels, have small classes and have resource rooms. So I wouldn’t call it a rich man’s “school” but it is a rich man’s “single subject school”. Frisch probably spares no expense in any regard.
I am thinking of tuition takkanos a la chasuna takkanos.
May 13, 2010 5:50 pm at 5:50 pm #684869
EJ my point about public school was that Yeshivas are not necessarily spending excessively. Is there waste? I am sure of it. But not in the $10,000 range per student.
Yes our communities have started spending excessively. Tuition is NOT mandatory – neither is buying fancy sheitels and clothing, owning a new car etc etc etc. You can homeschool your kids. Or send them to a cheaper school. There ARE places out there if you want to find it. I’m not sure what “righteous quid pro quos” I’m spewing. If each family could come up with a few thousand more a year, wouldn’t that help the school? Tuition would be lowered because less people would be on scholarship. According to my cousin 40-50% of the kids in school are on scholarship (roughly 30% of the families). The more EACH FAMILY can contribute, the better economic health of the school. I don’t think its unfair for me to say “I’m cutting out XYZ luxuries to avoid a scholarship” and expect others to do as well.
Squeak, Lakewood schools have very minimal general studies education (at least in boy schools). Girls schools also have a more balanced general studies curriculum but lack facilities, labs and other resources.
When I was in school, there was no air-conditioning. Is that standard nowadays?
So we’ve established that community wide tuition is a problem. Many families cannot afford it.
So, how do we establish a system where families can afford it? Money has to come from somewhere.
May 13, 2010 5:53 pm at 5:53 pm #684870
EJ, public schools are funded around $18-19,000 per child. Is $15,000 too much? Sure public schools have lots of extracurricular activities but Yeshivas have a dual curriculum.
I’m not sure you can make a valid comparison here. Public schools (at least in NYC — and I’d be surprised to find it’s different anywhere else in the US) are required to teach children who are severly handicapped — both physically and mentally. Costs for those children are MUCH higher than the cost for a standard child. If we exclude them from the equation, I’m sure the cost to educate a “fully abled” public school kid is less than the figure you quoted.
May 13, 2010 5:58 pm at 5:58 pm #684871
Wolf, maybe. But you think its driving the cost up 100%? So tuition without that would be clsoer to $10,000? I find that a little hard to believe, but I could be wrong.
May 13, 2010 6:03 pm at 6:03 pm #684872
A voice of reason in the wilderness. Thanks.
Agreed 100% on your response to using equity to fund schools. I would add as a corollary that tapping equity to fund, say, a kitchen remodel might not be a bad idea either, though it has a recurring expense element – ie debt payments – since that kitchen THEORETICALLY will add more equity and value to the house.
Off that tangent – SJS, if we all scrimped BIG TIME we may very well scrape up that amount – to fund a sinking ship. Who’d want to do THAT? The problem is the cost and structure itself – not the amount we spend!!! In a few years, tuition, tax and inflation increases may very well wipe out that savings – then what, hmmm???
I fail to understand why discussion of hard dollars and cents economics must go out the window when we discuss the sacred cow of chinuch? We don’t have the luxury of just spend spend spend spend on chinuch these days. The structure and modality need altering. Why is it that few are seemingly paying attention to K-12, NNJKids, or Yeshivas Ohev Shalom in LA? They may not be perfect or have the Answer, but they are trying to shift the discussion’s focus from slapping our heads and moaning “oy, what can we do” to “let’s explore alternate ways of funding and thinking about our children’s chinuch.
The Torah says we must be mechanech our children. The Torah also says one need not become impoverished to fulfill a mitzva. If you can’t afford, realistically afford tuition, you’re impoverished. If you spend more than you take in, you’re running down the garden path to poverty.
May 13, 2010 6:06 pm at 6:06 pm #684873
EJ, I have no problem with K-12. I think NNJ Kids is just taking the same money realistically and spreading it around. The people who are willing to donate ALREADY DO. If my husband wasn’t against homeschooling, I would totally get on board. (Although, I’m not 100% sure K-12 is certified in NJ?)
I don’t know about the school in LA – what are they doing?
May 13, 2010 6:06 pm at 6:06 pm #684874
When I was in school, we had no air conditioning at home either, never mind in school! I assume it is standard today.
May 13, 2010 6:18 pm at 6:18 pm #684875
EJ: But no one is willing to tell a child that they can’t attend due to cost problems.
How about this for size: A “public” jewish school, open to all, funded by the schools in the community (tax deduction passed on to the parents?). 40 child classes, etc. but no or minimal tuition.
Parents like SJS who care about the education of their children will work and pony up the extra funds for a “current system” yeshiva, while those who can’t (or wont) will no longer be able to send to the current Prep school system, lowering the student count in the more expensive schools as well as total cost of the system.
May 13, 2010 6:20 pm at 6:20 pm #684876
The way to establish a system that works is to eliminate donation dependency. Schools should not depend on donations to survive and neither should parents.
The problem is not in fixing the percent of income that can be afforded, but in fixing a per child amount. A family with 7 children cannot afford to pay more tuition than a family with 6 children, and that is the problem here. More kids <> more income, ergo, more kids = more scholarship. Every tuition bill requires personal tailoring, and that’s a problem.
Tuition per child needs to be fixed at an amount that is affordable on a per child basis, considering the ability to pay of a high percentage of member families (I made up 75% as a figure). Schools must live with that amount, whatever it is. Families that do not earn enough to pay for all their children will need to do one of two things:
a) Raise their personal shortfall by soliciting tax deductible donations
b) Home school one or more children for all or part of the day so that the final tuition bill is in their means.
I don’t see why 75% of families (or more) have to break their backs to provide to their children something neither they nor their neighbor can afford.
With all the kvetching about money spent on weddings and bar mitzvahs, you would think that someone could think of relating that argument to the school. After all, schools are much larger scale than individuals and should be a more worthwhile endeavor.
May 13, 2010 6:20 pm at 6:20 pm #684877
GAW, a couple of years ago, a group got together to talk about that and gauge interest. It never moved forward because people didn’t want to send their kids to an inferior school. [tuition was going to be around $7-8,000 per child, a bargain in NNJ]
May 13, 2010 6:21 pm at 6:21 pm #684878
Tada! You said it exactly.
May 13, 2010 6:24 pm at 6:24 pm #684879
Squeak, what you are advocating means only the rich can either have kids or send their kids to yeshiva.
May 13, 2010 6:44 pm at 6:44 pm #684880
GAW – that’s not a bad idea.
SJS, I understand your response. But maybe we should really sit and think whether the “prep” place really is inferior based on what we’re trying to accomplish
May 13, 2010 6:56 pm at 6:56 pm #684881
Oh it wasn’t me who lacked interest. I would definitely consider a school where the education was good but not stellar.
My only problem is that I went to a decent elementary school. I was bored stiff. I was always ahead of what the class was doing and I would do other things in class (like reading books under my desk). I don’t want my kids trapped that way. It gave me very lazy habits in life – I put so little effort in because I learnt it didn’t really matter. It helped promote my lazy side which I really struggle with to this day.
May 13, 2010 6:56 pm at 6:56 pm #684882
SJSinNYC: Why give them a choice?
Given the choices of sending to a prep or non prep school for the same costs, 99.9% will send to the prep school.
Now if you are telling me that the parents would have sent to public school, that is a different (sad) story.
But that’s why they call it blackmail and bluffing.
May 13, 2010 7:31 pm at 7:31 pm #684883
GAW, the choice was to start a Teaneck school for $7-8000 per student. That’s half of the cost of most Teaneck schools.
May 13, 2010 7:36 pm at 7:36 pm #684884
There is no solution that most people are looking for. Any way you slice and dice it, at the end of the day the rich will subsidize the poor. That fact will not change.
No tax system in the world charges a flat tax (i.e. $8,000) per person. (Even the Steve Forbes style proposed “flat tax” is based upon a percentage of income.) Like taxes, the Yeshiva tuition system is also based on need. The Jewish community (in Europe, etc.), when it had authority to tax Jews (which is where Jewish schooling was funded from), always taxed based upon ability — not a flat figure.
This will not change regardless of any amount of discussion. If anyone were to propose the IRS start charging per person or per family regardless of income, there idea would (rightfully) never be given the light of day or taken seriously by people.
May 13, 2010 7:45 pm at 7:45 pm #684885
volvie: Of course. That is not even within the realm of possibility. The poor CAN NOT be allowed to go to public school, Chas V’Shalom.
SJS: who said no? The current schools, the full paying parents or the subsidized parents?
May 13, 2010 7:49 pm at 7:49 pm #684886
Ability to pay is a private matter. No one has the right to know that information unless it is offered.
SJS – You missed what I said entirely. The tuition has to be set at a rate that every average family can afford. It is not a school for rich families at all.
May 13, 2010 7:54 pm at 7:54 pm #684887
A rate that the average family can afford is not the same as (the effectively impossible) setting a rate that every family can afford.
The number you threw out as the average affordability was 75%. What about the other 25% of children/families? If both parents are working, or if it is a one parent family, home schooling isn’t an option. And if one parent stops working to home school some of the children (which isn’t even a possibility for the one parent family), their income goes down and their ability to afford tuition and everything else goes down further.
May 13, 2010 8:14 pm at 8:14 pm #684888
GAW – no one (across the board) was really interested. Certainly not enough people to establish an entire school.
Squeak, according to my cousin, 30% of families are on scholarship. You would have to make it so that 90% could afford the school in order for it to really work.
FWIW, I think homeschooling (with a possible Talmud Torah setting) might be the best answer.
May 13, 2010 8:21 pm at 8:21 pm #684889
A rate that 75% can afford without losing sleep does not mean that the other 25% can’t afford it at all.
Let me make up some numbers here. Let’s say it is reasonable to expect a family has 100K income. If you divide the number of children in school by the number of families, you have a rough idea of how many children there are per family (of course, some adjustment for children in multiple schools is needed). Let’s say the average is 6 per family. It might be reasonable to arrive at $5K per child. This would mean that a family with 6 children in school pays $30K. If they earn 100K this is doable without debt. There would be some strain entering the budget for this family if they earned say, 85K or less.
25% of families might have more children or less income or both. They might decide to home school some children rather than find ways to pay, or they might not be able to homeschool. If they decide to send all their kids to school then they will have to apply for scholarship (from voluntarily donated money, like respectable institutions do, not like yeshivos do now), or raise money for the school through dinner campaigns, or trade services to the school, or a thousand other options. Or, they might live in debt. But the point is that 75% have no sweat.
May 13, 2010 8:25 pm at 8:25 pm #684890
Squeak, I could live with that.
But I can’t imagine running a school with that little money.
Do you charge extra for extracurriculars then? Like your child wants to take an extra AP class – you pay extra and those who don’t want it or can’t afford it can’t take it?
May 13, 2010 8:27 pm at 8:27 pm #684891
squeak, And what if the voluntarily donated money for the 25 or whatever percent who still cannot afford it does not materialize voluntarily?
May 13, 2010 8:32 pm at 8:32 pm #684892
That little money? Let’s play some more with the numbers.
Assume the school is full. Put 30 students in a class, each paying 5000. Each class is 150K in revenue. I see no difficulty in staffing the class with a full day’s curriculum using 2/3 of the money or less. That leaves 50K per class to pay administrators, buy (used) textbooks, pay their share of housing expense of the school, etc. I further expect that this structure (fixed funding model) would lead to schools building an economies of scale to maximize efficiency of spending.
My model for comparison is any charter school. Have a look at how they run. They receive a fixed amount per student and have no compunctions with cutting extra programs or classes due to budget limitations. Not so the public school system with its rubber budget, and unfortunately – the yeshivos who operate as though they have a rubber budget.
May 13, 2010 8:36 pm at 8:36 pm #684893
SJSinNYC: I actually like the idea of paying extra for extra classes. My current school does do that (to a certain extent) and it can be expanded. You pay for college, why not AP?
Also, if the 30% was told they can not attend the normal BC prep school, they would jump at the 8K school. They just don’t do it because they know they have another option.
Squeak: Agree with SJS that the amount is too low. Try closer to 9K per child and soon the money runs out. Your numbers (after I submitted) don’t include many fixed costs, as well as a normal salary for teachers once you take away their tuition break.
Volvie: That’s why we need a community funded school. (In addition to your own good point) What if the child is 1 of 10, and the parents can’t take the time to help? Or a Yasom?
It’s difficult to ask everyone to pitch in (as some can’t), and once you make exceptions, everyone expects to get one.
May 13, 2010 8:38 pm at 8:38 pm #684894
Out of the 25%, probably half of them could do it if they strained themselves the way people are straining today. For the other half (including kollel, rabbinate, or other families with lower income) if there is no scholarship money available then they are forced to solicit funds directly. This too, is no different from the obligations that schools place on their parent body except that in this case most parents would be exempt.
Personally, I think donations would be plentiful, even from tuition paying parents. Think about the upper 25% instead of the lower 25. These families are either high income or families with few children and decent income. They are probably comfortable enough and happy with the tuition levels so that they would voluntarily want to help the lower 25. Plus there are alumni, grandparents, and businesses who will all look for tax deductions from time to time. This model can work.
May 13, 2010 8:45 pm at 8:45 pm #684895
squeak, Is it really realistic to expect you can set a flat per child tuition rate that 75% can comfortably afford and another 12.5% can meet with straining? Right now most people are straining and perhaps 12.5% can comfortably afford. To achieve your objective, you will have the seemingly (to me) impossible task of setting such a tuition rate.
And if the family’s sincere attempt to directly solicit funds is unsuccessful (i.e. during hard economic times), will the children be thrown out of Yeshiva to the streets or PS? If not (and it is obvious that not), you are (at least partially) back to where you started.
May 13, 2010 8:48 pm at 8:48 pm #684896
It seems to me that the burden is great but that the schools aren’t doing enough to curb their costs. Why don’t they hire only full time staff? Meaning, if there is a Yeshiva where the Rebbe teaches only in the morning, why not give hime some duties inthe afternoon thereby eliminating some of the staff needed at that time. The same could go for the afternoon teachers, make their positions full time and give them duties in the morning. I’m not suggesting they do maintenance work, rather some sort of administrative duties.
They already get free tuition, which someone mentioned if was taken away the tuition would go higher, why not make them stay a full work day, I don’t know how about 8 hours? This concept may go a long way to teaching our young people the importance of working rather than seeing the Rebbe or Morah leave at 2:00. The responsibility here is on the institution itself both for practical reasons as well as the “keeper” of donated monies.
May 13, 2010 8:58 pm at 8:58 pm #684897
I think you and I both know that a community funded school will never work. How do you define community? What stops anyone who has no kids in school from opting out?
The 9K figure you quote is way too high. Does a class really need 270K to pay its teachers and administrators? Also, teachers may demand higher salaries, but they can’t command more than a regular job 9-5 12 months a year that gets no tuition breaks either.
May 13, 2010 9:04 pm at 9:04 pm #684898
Of course they would not be thrown out to PS. But you are still better off than before because the school has been changed to operate on a fixed budget. It is spending less frivolously. If some of the money it expects does not come through, a debt is owed to the school. The school can no longer be the tzedaka box. The almanah with 10 children should place her tuition burden on the local Rav, just as she would place her need for food and shelter.
May 13, 2010 9:07 pm at 9:07 pm #684899
Assuming no mortgage (owned or borrowed building), elementry school, one teacher, and no scholarships your numbers could work for a lower tier school (depending on insurance and legal compliance costs). But those who could pay more would want more (smaller classes, air conditioning, heat, projects and trips, gym, etc) which would create adverse selection to the others who can’t pay.
By community school, I did not mean community FUNDED. I mean similar to my previous idea, that the schools can send their scholarship children to a lower cost school (such as the one you describe), thereby saving in total costs to educate ALL children.
Besides, all of us are obviously OK enough with the status quo that we are not running our own school.
May 13, 2010 9:14 pm at 9:14 pm #684900
Well, the status quo doesn’t affect me that much. But I hear from plenty of people who have young children in school and not enough income. To say they are OK with it because they don’t open their own school is fallacious reasoning – they would have to quit their job and borrow a lot of money just to get a new school off the ground, never mind the fact that they don’t have the slightest bit of expertise or knowledge of how to run the place.
May 13, 2010 9:19 pm at 9:19 pm #684901
But you do bring up a good point of start up capital, which may be needed (except for my plan, which would use an existing school?) and is not available.
May 13, 2010 9:23 pm at 9:23 pm #684902
Totally misunderstood- sorry, your comment makes sense now.
May 14, 2010 4:31 pm at 4:31 pm #684903
Thanks for all your advice, compromised the increase with the yeshiva. Still a lot more than I paid in the past but at least it is doable.
May 14, 2010 5:41 pm at 5:41 pm #684904
laguy: I’m going to assume you didn’t mean that teachers should work more hours for the same pay (or lack of it). They already work evenings, weekends, and whenever they encounter parents.
Besides, from your equating the teaching profession with other jobs, it’s obvious that you haven’t a clue as to the energy level teaching requires.
In addition, public school teachers do not work 8-hour days, AND they have prep time built into their school day whereas our teachers do not.
(And no, I’m not a classroom teacher.)
May 14, 2010 6:00 pm at 6:00 pm #684905
Do you have a “real” job? Does it pay your full tuition (for multiple children)?
If you do, I am surprised you compare a teaching job (off fri afternoon & Yom Tov, short commute in most cases, parsonage, tuition discounts, SUMMERS, home for children when they get home from yeshiva even if you have to do some work at home (no need for a nanny), discounts at stores, and much much more!) to a “real” job (and there are exceptions).
If you don’t, then I will disregard your comment.
May 14, 2010 6:14 pm at 6:14 pm #684906
I just saw this conversation thread, while I didn’t read every comment, I have a few general insights. (I am an administrator in a mossod in the ny/nj area, I also do consulting for mosdos that need some hadrocho with getting their operations streamlined and running more efficiently.)
1. The average Rebbi in the NY/NJ area is making approx. $60K PLUS at east partial, if not total health care coverage. Some are making more. The days of the Rebbi driving around in a beat-up station wagon with duct tape on the muffler, are OVER. For whatever reason, peer pressure, the good economy the past 8 years, Klei Kodesh have insisted on living on a higher standard than they did 20-30 years ago. Maybe they were used to a certain level when they were in Kollel (from the in-laws) and it’s not worth it to take less, or maybe they saw all of the “working stiff” buying ever-bigger houses, cars, taking vacations, etc… but they have been getting higher salaries.
2.There are more and more issues in all mosdos. Doesn’t matter if you are NCSY, YU, modern-orthodox, black-hat, chasidish…. There are more issues in the house (Shalom Bayis, siblings at risk, internet accessibilty, cell phone..) and more often than not, those people can’t afford (or the situation is too dysfunctional) the individual attention (at the very least) or the professional help (on the higher side) that many of these kids need. Guess who is paying for it? What should they do? Just say “it’s not my problem?” and pass the kid to the next grade? Yes, SOME mosdos do that, but many do not.
3. For many of the public, tuition/education, to them, is not important, or a game, to be played. We don’t have a tuition crisis. (Yes, trust me, I know, there are MANY people who can’t afford tuition) HOWEVER, there are many who can and don’t. The economy has just given them additional cover where to hide. What we do have is a “hashkafic crisis”. If those who could, would value the effort and mesiras nefesh put forth by those who work and worry literally 24/7, things would be easier. (Hey, if these parents worried about their own kids 24/7, we would already be heading in the right direction!) One of the first things I do when starting with a new mossod, is to re-examine their tuition collections. I’ve never failed to raise significant money WITHOUT FIGHTS OR THREATS.Looking at the real data, I see many parents who are hiding from the “tuition man”. When presented with the additonal info I’ve discovered, they have always come clean, yes, reluctantly, but when they realize they were discovered…..
As a side note to this, before getting upset at the tuition person/committee, remember that the last five people they talked to, tried their hardest to put one over on them, so when they got to you, they were already assuming you were just another scammer. Is that fair? absolutely not, but we’re all human. It’s easy for us to judge. Try doing this for a few days, see how fast you become and “anti-semite”.
May 14, 2010 6:23 pm at 6:23 pm #684907
With all the government programs, plus support from the in-laws, I can’t imagine its worthwhile to leave kollel for less than 60K.
I guess thats why many people remain in kollel in our current society. Not only do they want to learn, they can’t afford to get a job!
May 14, 2010 9:27 pm at 9:27 pm #684908
GAW: Yes, my husband has a “real” job, and I work part-time to supplement it (and both of us have at least master’s degrees), and, being that our kids’ schools have our credit card number, our tuition is paid promptly each month. Currently, we are paying interest on that tuition.
The perks that you mentioned are the main attraction of Chinuch.
We cannot provide our teachers with the pay plus benefits (free GHI for the whole family and pension, 401K), and working conditions (Smartboards and other equipment which make teaching easier, prep periods) that public school teachers receive; short Fridays and Yom Tov off at least partially compensate. (Well, not Yom Tov, public school teachers have vacation days.)
Public school teachers also have summers off and can be home for children when they get home.
Short commute- I know many Rebbeim (8, off the top of my head) and teachers who travel over an hour each way and many ba’alei batim who barely commute.
Tuition discounts- Not helpful (as far as I know) for a Rebbi with daughters or a Morah with sons. Also not helpful for Chassidish Rebbi in Litvish Yeshiva or anyone else whose kids attend schools other than the one in which s/he works.
“Store discounts and much, much more”- Don’t know about these, but as a therapist, I receive discounts at certain (toy) stores, too.
Sure, I’d love to see something done about the escalating costs of tuition (another one is starting school soon, B”H!), but NOT at the expense of the teachers!
May 14, 2010 9:38 pm at 9:38 pm #684909
Well said tomim tihye, well said.
(From a [non-chinuch] working stiff)
May 14, 2010 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm #684910
I think the real problem is the high cost of living in a frum community, especially the cost of housing. Nobody I know in chinuch is raking it in. (Maybe I just don’t know the right people!) We’re talking about $60,000 as if it’s a lot of money. If that’s what the main breadwinner is bringing in, it’s really not enough.
An earlier post assumed a monthly mortgage payment of $2500, which is low for a family-sized home in many (NOT fancy) NY/NJ neighborhoods but working with that, we get housing at $30,000 a year, or half of the rebbi’s PRETAX salary. Keep in mind that $60,000 doesn’t go very far around here but it’s higher than the national average(which is probably somewhere around $40,000, depending on which data source you use) so that rebbi is relatively well-off as far as the IRS is concerned.
Now add in all the other costs of life, such as food, medical, which isn’t free even with fully covered health insurance, transportation, etc. Don’t forget tuition – many families have boys and girls, in elementary and high school, so even if tuition at our hypothetical rebbi’s school is covered completely (big if!) chances are he’s paying for some of his kids.
Ironically, it’s easier to live on the minimum wage around here than it is to try to make ends meet at $60K. Section 8 pays your rent, SNAP (formerly Food Stamps) covers some of the groceries and Medicaid takes care of healthcare.
We’re called “middle class” because we get squeezed from both ends. Too rich for the “safety net,” too poor to afford the “necessities” of life.
May 16, 2010 6:20 pm at 6:20 pm #684911
tomim tihye: that is not exactly what I’m saying. What I propose is that every yeshiva, school and educational institution do the best they can to run their programs with a responsible business model. If Rabbeim and teachers are earning a full days pay, they should put in a full days work. Someone who enters the teaching profession understands (or should understand) that this is not an industry that will earn you bug bucks. In fact if you are a teacher you can expect to have some financial struggle. (These are not my rules, these are the rules within our society, both religious and secular.)
A person that enters chinuch understands that their work does not end when they leave, they have their busy times as much as an accountant in March and April, but what they gain in return is not materialistic (and it doesn’t hurt that they have the whole summer off).
What I’m suggesting is that each teacher spend an entire day teaching, thereby allowing the school to cut back some of the other staff they hire part time. Its cheaper to hire fewer full time staff than to hire many part time staff to fill the same functions.
May 16, 2010 6:26 pm at 6:26 pm #684912
Sounds like you’re suggesting that teachers work longer hours for no additional compensation. That is unacceptable, and if someone suggested that for whatever industry you’re in (i.e. computer programmers across the board be put to work another 5 hours a week at their current pay) you’d have close to a revolt and it wouldn’t fly.
Rebbeim are already paid less than most other professions as it is, while almost singlehandedly ensuring the future of our most precious gift — our children.
May 17, 2010 2:25 pm at 2:25 pm #684913
Don’t get me started on union backed pulic school teachers! At least they deserve Hazard Pay 🙂
Every job has its perks. The perks for teachers (in general) outway the lost salary, otherwise they would not work there.
On another (and moe importaint) note: I am worried about you paying interest on your tuition payments. Does your school know this? I would hope that they would allow a payment plan so that Ribbis is not paid (even to the CC company). Perhaps if you would put up some collateral they would feel better about it, but financially, paying recurring costs with a credit card and not paying off every month is a recipe for disaster.
May 17, 2010 3:05 pm at 3:05 pm #684914
the rebbeim get paid enough, is it enough to live on? maybe not but the workers at b&h don’t make enough to live on either!
the fact is rebbeim, work till 2:00pm, have off for yom tov, summers. they get tuition breaks from ALL schools, presents before yom tov from parents,they usually have a part time job from 2 or 3pm. and they also have summer jobs, all in all they make more than 100k a year!! (still not a lot with the cost of everything, but a lot more they would make anywhere else)
as far as working longer hours to speak to parents, wake me up when they return a phone call, the only thing they did at night was bar mitzvas, but with takanas, that’s over.
the real issue with tuition is simple, many parents are in kollel (if their parents support them, maybe support should include tuition? not just a house and car, and leave the tuition for the rest of us)
many others are rebbeim, unemployed, making low wages or cash, we end up picking up the tab for all the above mentioned ppl, that’s what’s killing the system!
question if a person can’t afford tuition, do they have a right to have more kids? we might be mechuev to support someone that falls on hard times, but if you know you’re broke, do we have to support the new editions? when does it stop?
May 17, 2010 5:10 pm at 5:10 pm #684915
“Rebbeim are already paid less than most other professions”
I have no idea how much Rebbeim are being paid, but I fully expect that it would be less than other professionals. There is no shortage of candidates, there is no training required (other than sitting and learning for a few years, which so many are doing now anyway), there are no end of perks, AND they are working for non-profit organizations.
It is not fair to compare that to a doctor/lawyer/accountant/therapist/engineer/architect or any other profession that a) requires standardized training which excludes many people who would otherwise want to join the profession (creating scarcity), b) works a minimum of 40 hours a week, and it is not uncommon to find them working overtime on nights, weekends, legal holidays at no extra pay, c) works for a profit oriented company or firm, whose goal is to motivate employees to maximize profit, d) receives no extras that are not on paper e) is usually forced to work outside the “arbah koislei beis medrash”.
May 17, 2010 5:20 pm at 5:20 pm #684916
“question if a person can’t afford tuition, do they have a right to have more kids?”
chesed name: I am deeply perturbed a Frum Torah Jew could mouth such a question! Every one has an absolute unfettered right to have as many children as HKB”H blesses him with. Without interference. Even if he is perpetually unemployed without any current or foreseeable income.
May 17, 2010 5:32 pm at 5:32 pm #684917
Trying my best:
There are also halachos regarding the community supporting such children, though (you don’t, and have them (the children) collect by doors to make ends meet, while publicly shaming the parents to provide for their children). Not to say that they should be applied, but they do exist.
May 17, 2010 5:37 pm at 5:37 pm #684918
gavra_at_work: Thank you.
Obviously those halachas are if the parent is negligent in refusing to secure an income where possible. OTOH if the parent tries his best to obtain an income and is unsuccessful or the income is wholly insufficient, there is no right to shame them.
May 17, 2010 6:00 pm at 6:00 pm #684921
Trying my best:
Not halachic, but is the current reality. Also who decides how much hishtadlus is required? I hear Wal Mart & Target are hiring.
May 17, 2010 6:03 pm at 6:03 pm #684922
gavra_at_work: I fully agree. If Wal Mart & Target are the best income a parent can secure, they should not be embarrassed to accept a position there. But just keep in mind, parents working in Wal Mart & Target will not be able to afford anywhere near full tuition.
May 17, 2010 6:07 pm at 6:07 pm #684924
more full time teachers is not cheaper.
Most teachers who are part time- (1) don’t get paid breaks like full time staff(2) don’t get benefits which is speaker for the employer , (3) have a lot more energy/patience for the kids if they only see them a couple hours a day.
May 17, 2010 6:25 pm at 6:25 pm #684925
speaktruth: The statement about energy is not a reasonable one. I too run out of energy at the end of my day, right about 5 1/2 to 6 hours into my busy day. Maybe I can leave work then too? Shall I ask my boss for 2 months off so I can refresh? Maybe I should tell him that I had to make a couple of calls last night or I prepared for today so I should have a shorter day. The idea that teachers/rabbeim are the only ones that work at night to “prepare” is ridiculous. I have gotten so tired of hearing how hard it is on them, does anyone else who has a job not work hard to do what is EXPECTED of their jobs? If they’re having such a hard time, they should find another job, maybe for the government, they seem to have it easy.
In regard to how many teachers it takes to teach a class. Right now it seems we hire one rebbe and one teacher for each grade. The rebber leaves at 2 the english teacher then comes in. Why not have the english teacher come in the morning, teach a class of a different grade, then move to the next class in the afternoon, the same could go for the rebbe. Now you have 2 teachers for 2 grades allowing for a reduction of 2 teachers salary of which you can take a portion of to increase the rebbe’s and teacher’s pay.
May 17, 2010 6:28 pm at 6:28 pm #684926
laguy, my high school (Bruriah) did that. We had a mix of limudei kodesh and chol throughout the day.
The dean of the school also pitched in to teach Calculus (Rabbi Teitz). And it was a great way for us to interact with him.
May 17, 2010 6:31 pm at 6:31 pm #684927
laguy: Limudei Kodesh needs to be taught in the morning prior to secular studies.
May 17, 2010 6:38 pm at 6:38 pm #684928
mixing up the hebrew and secular studies, would never work, for many reasons, that’s not the solution.
the solution is 1) cut cost (which i have to believe they do try)
2) get rid of these expensive buildings, unless you have more money than you need and someone comes to pay for the whole thing.
3) if you support your son/son-n-law in kollel pay his tuition, if not you can’t afford to support him, let him go work
May 17, 2010 6:40 pm at 6:40 pm #684929
Trying my best: The word “need” is somewhat debateable. When a school can’t make its payroll they NEED to do something more fiscally responsible. While I understand the reasons for teachin limudei kodesh in the morning, it is not the absolute. I was brought up that way, but now my kids are in a school where some of the grades are different. They start their day davening and have a quick shiur right after. They then go to math, etc. at around 1:30 or so the rebbe or morah comes in and they do limudei kodesh after they have taught their other limudei kodesh classes inthe morning. I frankly don’t see any difference in what my kids are learning. We still have very lively divrei torah on shabbos and beleive it or not on the way home from school, because they just got out of chumash or navi. It CAN work!
May 17, 2010 7:22 pm at 7:22 pm #684930
The word “need” is somewhat debateable. When a school can’t make its payroll they NEED to do something more fiscally responsible.
I like what you are saying. However, you need to realize that what you said is a chiddush gamor to yeshivos. Currently the accepted situation is that when a school can’t make its payroll the director makes phone calls and says Nu Rabboisai! We NEED money!
If your way of thinking were in place, I agree that it would be very easy to try different cost cutting methods.
May 18, 2010 2:58 am at 2:58 am #684931
Gavra: I appreciate your concern for our Halochik and financial well-being and the advice you suggested. B”H, paying interest on our tuition is not the norm for us; currently, we are, but only due to some major one-time expenses and my being owed $$ from DOE for some work. The situation should be resolved soon, B’ezras Hashem. Thanks again for showing “Yisroel Areivim Zeh LaZeh”.
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