Why are our day schools different?

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    Why are our day schools different?

    A national emergency with unemployment nearing 1930 depression levels. Mortgages, rent, car payments deferred, millions resorting to food banks etc.

    Yet school, boards, admins and maybe even some teachers think they are different. That they are entitled to full tuition and full salaries. That they don’t need to take immediate and drastic steps to cut costs.
    Buildings are closed equals lower utility costs, no school nurses, secretaries, custodians, extra security etc.

    Now is the time to remove the bloated administration.
    Now is the time to cut salaries across the board.
    Now is the time to take difficult but necessary steps so that our institutions can live to serve another day.
    It’s happening everywhere else. Why are our day schools different?

    Parents, the PTA works with the school’s admin and under normal circumstances this close relationship is usually to everyone’s benefit. But now that close cooperation and relationship prevents the PTA from advocating on behalf of parents. We the parents need to organize and advocate for OUR children and OUR interests. Who speaks for the recently unemployed mother and father who has seen their small business crushed? Who advocates for us the parents who, by the skin of our teeth, pay tuition but are not machers and have no say? Did your day school take the initiative and reach out to us the struggling parents? Offer assistance? Guidance? Even an acknowledgment that though many of us are unemployed or struggling we are still keeping THEM employed – in full. Most every other, private business, nonprofit and governmental entity has said or done something. Why are our day schools different?

    Who represents us and asks honest and reasonable questions about responsible and emergency budgeting? Nobody. Instead we, the tuition paying parents, are relentlessly bullied by the plethora of teachers, teacher’s spouses, PTA acolytes and other self-interested parties. Or worse subtly retaliated against by admins.
    Don’t be afraid, the school works for us! The teachers work for us! The admins are beholden to us!



    Did you reach out to someone at the school and discuss your financial situation with them?
    If the salaries are so great why dont u work in a school.
    I personally am happy that at least someone is getting paid.

    🍫Syag Lchochma

    Acolyte- can you do me a favor and keep your bashing to yourself. Isnt living in isolation enough of a reminder that we need to change how we talk and think? If you have a question about your school, call them. If you need to rant, call a friend. If you are looking for chizuk, you may be able to rewrite your post differently.


    The OP is a sad manifestation of how stressed many in the tzibur are and in ways that those of us who are fortunate enough not to have economic challenges really don’t comprehend. Sadly, those involved in chinuch at our yeshivas, day-schools, BJs etc. are also among those likely to be economically challenged. Teaching is one of the lowest paid professions and those working in religious schools generally earn even less than the median salary of public school teachers in the same area. They also have families, mortgages and tuition and the same pressures as the OP author. Most, although not all, are still working and find creative ways to continue instruction for families who may not have easy access to broadband and computers or PDAs. Our yeshivos are financially stressed in the best of times and even more so now. Many will have to incur significantly higher costs to address new realities once the schools are allowed to open.
    Now is not the time to bash our mosdos for not being more efficient or finding ways to reduce administrative overhead that has been a problem for years.


    Our Day Schools are not different
    Many have furloughed/laid off staff
    Office staff, some janitorial help and kitchen/cafeteria help are not receiving paychecks and collecting unemployment. Many of these low paid workers are actually to receive more money for not working because f the $600 week Federal add on to state unemployment amounts.

    In most cases teachers are working, directing distance learning, phone calls with parents and students, creating lesson plans for home education, etc. while supervising their own kids who would normally be in another classroom during the school day.

    Some janitorial staff must work. You can’t just lock the doors and walk away, The buildings must be maintained. The absence of students and most staff allows deferred maintenance to take place as well as the required deep cleaning and sanitizing required by health departments.
    We want the buildings ready to go when the government allows opening, not having to wait weeks to bring them into operation.

    Spring has arrived, non-urban schools have lawns and playgrounds, plantings, etc. that have to be maintained. They can’t be allowed to become overgrown breeding grounds for mosquitoes and West Nile Virus.

    I do not know why you think most day schools have bloated payroll. I’ve been on the Boards of a few over 40 years and salaries are quite low


    Our day schools, even the “rich” ones, already underpay our teachers, and have administrations that while bloated compared to what yeshivos had “in the old country” in the “good old days” (when most people were happy to have two almost square meals on most days, if they were lucky), they are actually unbloated compared to the public schools. Just think for a minute, if you were a goyish bank loaning money at interest (and expecting to be repaid), and someone known to you as a yeshiva rebbe walked in the door, would you jump to greet him or would you look the other way and hope he wasn’t there to ask for a loan.

    It might be possible to put the teachers on unemployment insurance, which is being supplemented, but that’s it.


    As a Rebbes working from home, the workload is impossible. I create Kahoot games, prepare and e mail sheets, need to log on to Zoom and teach the same curriculum in less time to boys who are distracted. AND YOU WANT TO PAY ME LESS!?


    fb: Why would a rebbe be preparing games? Unless you mean for little children.

    CTL: The $600 extra is only for 13 weeks.


    13 weeks is a quarter of the year
    Many of these schools closed for what would be the final three months of the school year

    Many of the Federal relief programs are likely to be extended
    Some schools OOT may be able to reopen in late May or June depending on circumstances and the state governor’s directives

    These are hard and trying times and all Americans suffer in different ways

    My bank manager called me immediately when the PPP money became available and said as a preferred customer they had moved my firm’s name to the top of the list. I told him that we would not be taking these government funds and that they should be used for companies not in great financial shape with low income employees who need their paychecks and jobs.
    It is a shame that banks played favorites with Federal aid and many businesses who did not truly need the money took it and small and newly established businesses who needed the aid didn’t even have their applications processed.

    Here in CT law firms and accountants were on the list of ‘essential’ businesses allowed to operate. The CTL firm is operating remotely with our offices closed to the public. Only the one designated employee may enter the premises to access hard files.

    Between keeping the firm operating, being in our town’s emergency management committee and trying to educate and raise all our grandchildren and grand nieces and nephews who have been in the compound since about the 10th of March I am busier than ever and look forward to a return to normalcy and a bit of a rest.


    I’m sorry but I find this proposition to be ludicrous. My brother-in-law is a rabi in a local school and he absolutely needs his job. it doesn’t matter that he’s basically a little over paid based on his skill-set, that doesn’t have any college Baruch Hashem and is years and years of yeshiva are certainly worth something. Not being biased but it’s a pretty low great day teaches and probably pretty easy to swap him out for someone else. but at the same time he has a family to rest and it would be completely unfair for schools to go around and just take out people who may not be the most qualified and who are paid a little more than they should be just because they’re trying to optimize how they spend their dollars.

    The proposition is really just unfair to the people who need those jobs.


    Most yeshivas and probably day schools too run on a deficit which they make up with fundraising. They also pay very little and even that they don’t always pay on time. Cutting salaries will result in staff loss resulting in larger classroom size i.e more pupils per class and or a dirtier school. Parents will remove their children and the school will cease to exist.
    The school needs to charge full price and hope for the best, that most parents will pay. Even in the best of times some parent are behind in payments and now that there is a pandemic even more of them will be behind. They may have a scholarship fund which helps parents who can’t fully pay the tuition but because of the lock down there are too many parents applying.
    As far as cutting the salary, most schools have contracts which states how much they are going to pay each employee so they can’t do that. Also since they are paid so little they may not be able to find qualified replacements.

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