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Why aren't schools any cheaper OOT?
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amother




OP


Post  Thu, Sep 19 2019, 9:24 am
we're BT / recently married with no kids yet, but looking to move to an OOT community for cheaper cost of living and generally better quality of life, among other reasons.

can ppl honestly explain to me why the cost of jewish schools is pretty much the same in cheap-COL cities as it is in major high-COL jewish communities?

one would think the OOT schools have significantly lower operating expenses -- real estate / rents are waaaay cheaper, which is a big deal. also, I would assume (but perhaps I'm wrong) that they're paying their teachers and staff less because everyone's wages are generally lower and teachers don't need/expect as much to survive.

unlike many BTs we know who remain stary-eyed forever and take everything at face value and toot the "party line." we are cynical about certain things in the orthodox world and realize that no institution is immune from human nature, greed, corruption, etc. for example, our rabbi basically told us that the cost of kosher meat is what it is because "some rabbis are making a lot of money off of it, and I'm not one of them."

our hunch is that it seems unjustified that the schools in OOT communities cost the same as in high COL cities.
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watergirl




 
 
 


Post  Thu, Sep 19 2019, 9:27 am
Its not an "in town" vs "out of town" (I hate that! What town? Ugh) thing. Its a matter of the schools having the practice of hiring teachers with degrees vs. not. The cheaper schools are much more likely to hire without degrees. Degrees --> higher salary --> higher tuition.
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amother




Saddlebrown


Post  Thu, Sep 19 2019, 9:28 am
Many OOT schools are paying their teachers somewhat more than in the in-town schools.

I guess following what watergirl said, perhaps the in-town schools are more likely to hire teachers without degrees.
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amother




Burgundy


Post  Thu, Sep 19 2019, 9:29 am
It’s very expensive to run a school. Teachers salaries, bills, and not every child can afford full tuition so full tuition subsidized the cost of others. But asking why won’t change the system. This is how it was and will be.
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amother




Sienna


Post  Thu, Sep 19 2019, 9:30 am
Hi. I think it greatly depends on the size of the school. There are certain fixed expenses for every institution and when the number of students is smaller, which is typically the case OOT, those expenses are divided up among less families and therefore every family pays more.

Also, OOT schools are usually more flexible in terms of scholarships, even for families with two full-time working parents, so the "sticker price" of tuition is not necessarily what those families are paying in real life.
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notshanarishona




 
 
 


Post  Thu, Sep 19 2019, 9:30 am
The more students in a class the more people contributing towards salaries. Schools with 20 kids in a class need a lot more money per kid than schools with 30 students in a class .
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amother




Saddlebrown


Post  Thu, Sep 19 2019, 9:30 am
amother [ Burgundy ] wrote:
It’s very expensive to run a school. Teachers salaries, bills, and not every child can afford full tuition so full tuition subsidized the cost of others. But asking why won’t change the system. This is how it was and will be.


But again, the school's costs to begin with should be much lower OOT vs. in-town (or at least in lower COL places vs. higher COL ones). You'd imagine that tuition would reflect that.

If anything, it seems that tuition OOT is much higher.
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Squishy




 
 
 


Post  Thu, Sep 19 2019, 9:31 am
OOT schools don't have economies of scale.
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amother




Saddlebrown


Post  Thu, Sep 19 2019, 9:32 am
amother [ Sienna ] wrote:
Hi. I think it greatly depends on the size of the school. There are certain fixed expenses for every institution and when the number of students is smaller, which is typically the case OOT, those expenses are divided up among less families and therefore every family pays more.

Also, OOT schools are usually more flexible in terms of scholarships, even for families with two full-time working parents, so the "sticker price" of tuition is not necessarily what those families are paying in real life.


The thing is, many OOT schools are "community schools," so the one or two schools in the community might actually be larger than many in-town schools.

For example, many of the girls I met in seminary had a much larger grade than I did, even though I went to a typical Brooklyn Bais Yaakov.

Also, is it really the case that OOT schools are more flexible about scholarships? I had heard the opposite, that it's harder to get a break. That's one of my concerns about moving OOT.
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amother




Ecru


Post  Thu, Sep 19 2019, 9:38 am
85 to 90 percent of a school's budget goes to payroll. In the New York area, there's a glut of teachers, which drives down salaries. In towns where demand outstrips supply, teacher salaries are higher.
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leah233




 
 
 


Post  Thu, Sep 19 2019, 9:41 am
I'm guessing that OOT schools have fewer mega donors than in town schools.

For budgeting purposes of an existing school I once compared tax returns of a few different schools (all in town, all relatively similar schools)

The expenses per student were basically the same. Tuition varied greatly between the schools becuase the donations they received also varied greatly. Higher tuition always equaled less donations.
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amother




OP


Post  Thu, Sep 19 2019, 9:44 am
thanks for the responses. regarding the economies of scale comments, it seems that some of these OOT schools aren't particularly small because there are 1-2 schools in the whole city for everyone

mega-donors might be a possible answer.

amother [ Burgundy ] wrote:
But asking why won’t change the system. This is how it was and will be.


if we don't ask why, it certainly won't change the system!

if enough people ask the hard questions and demand answers, things *might* change.
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Ruchel




 
 
 


Post  Thu, Sep 19 2019, 9:46 am
watergirl wrote:
Its not an "in town" vs "out of town" (I hate that! What town? Ugh) thing. Its a matter of the schools having the practice of hiring teachers with degrees vs. not. The cheaper schools are much more likely to hire without degrees. Degrees --> higher salary --> higher tuition.


Yes and no. Think of rent. Think of electricity. THink of some teachers agreeing to be paid less in order to teach Jewish/charedi (discipline wise). My husband is currently teaching overualified, but so he has the vacay (Jewish) and the charedi discipline Smile
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amother




Oak


Post  Thu, Sep 19 2019, 9:47 am
amother [ Saddlebrown ] wrote:
But again, the school's costs to begin with should be much lower OOT vs. in-town (or at least in lower COL places vs. higher COL ones). You'd imagine that tuition would reflect that.

If anything, it seems that tuition OOT is much higher.


Many out of town places do not get the government funding that schools in NY and NJ do, due to a much smaller voting and lobbying bloc.
For example, in the oot place I went, the school got $0 gov't funding- not for busses, lunch, books, anything.

Combine that with the economies of scale, much less alumni donors, donors in general. Then you have much higher prices.

Additionally, many oot of schools have to bring in teachers to the city to teach which results in higher salaries plus relocation costs.
And yes, the schools pay a lot more for teachers than in town schools cuz there aren't as many teachers available.

I really, really don't think that the cost has anything to do with corruption
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amother




Vermilion


Post  Thu, Sep 19 2019, 9:50 am
amother [ OP ] wrote:
thanks for the responses. regarding the economies of scale comments, it seems that some of these OOT schools aren't particularly small because there are 1-2 schools in the whole city for everyone

mega-donors might be a possible answer.

if we don't ask why, it certainly won't change the system!

if enough people ask the hard questions and demand answers, things *might* change.


Your cynicism is really misplaced.

What needs to change? What do you think is happening?

Schools are expensive.
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amother




Turquoise


Post  Thu, Sep 19 2019, 9:50 am
amother [ OP ] wrote:
we're BT / recently married with no kids yet, but looking to move to an OOT community for cheaper cost of living and generally better quality of life, among other reasons.

can ppl honestly explain to me why the cost of jewish schools is pretty much the same in cheap-COL cities as it is in major high-COL jewish communities?

one would think the OOT schools have significantly lower operating expenses -- real estate / rents are waaaay cheaper, which is a big deal. also, I would assume (but perhaps I'm wrong) that they're paying their teachers and staff less because everyone's wages are generally lower and teachers don't need/expect as much to survive.

unlike many BTs we know who remain stary-eyed forever and take everything at face value and toot the "party line." we are cynical about certain things in the orthodox world and realize that no institution is immune from human nature, greed, corruption, etc. for example, our rabbi basically told us that the cost of kosher meat is what it is because "some rabbis are making a lot of money off of it, and I'm not one of them."

our hunch is that it seems unjustified that the schools in OOT communities cost the same as in high COL cities.


Could be many reasons. Oot schools are more flexible with scholarships. They have less students overall to split the cost s between. The community support is smaller and/or not as wealthy as in town schools.
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amother




Jetblack


Post  Thu, Sep 19 2019, 9:51 am
leah233 wrote:
I'm guessing that OOT schools have fewer mega donors than in town schools.

For budgeting purposes of an existing school I once compared tax returns of a few different schools (all in town, all relatively similar schools)

The expenses per student were basically the same. Tuition varied greatly between the schools becuase the donations they received also varied greatly. Higher tuition always equaled less donations.


I believe this is a major factor. I live oot in an area where COL is high. I've seen the documentation with salaries of all the admin in my kids' schools and I was actually surprised that their salaries are not higher. Their schools rely on a lot of fundraising to cover their expenses, and lots of families are not paying full tuition.
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amother




Sienna


Post  Thu, Sep 19 2019, 9:52 am
Regarding scholarships, I can only speak from my own experience. I live OOT and we have a combined income (both working FT) of about $125,000 annually. Full price for tuition for my 5 kids should be about $75,000 a year, in multiple schools. I submit my tax returns to the schools with a short application (same for all schools) and they reduced the tuition with no questions asked so that I pay about $40,000 total. It's still a lot, but we are able to make it work and would not have been able to if we had to pay full price, even with a 6 figure income. It's an easy process, all done anonymously and I don't have to beg. I have friends who were not able to afford tuition and requested further discounts or deferrals due to circumstances like job loss and medical bills. The schools were always accommodating. I think that when you live in a closer-knit community, there is a bit more understanding of individual circumstances and what is realistic.
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amother




Ecru


Post  Thu, Sep 19 2019, 9:52 am
As someone who was active in my kids' schools, I'm glad to see that you are interested in making a difference. But barging in as a newcomer and insinuating that someone is cooking the books isn't going to make you a lot of friends.

Most schools squeeze every penny dry. You may disagree about what the needs of the school are (another reading specialist? smartboards?) but no one is pocketing the money.

In the schools I know, salaries are competitive but no one is getting rich off tuition.
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amother




Papaya


Post  Thu, Sep 19 2019, 9:55 am
when you say OOT what are you referring to? boston, la... has a high cost of living. rochester doesn't have many kids... all OOT communities can't be lumped together

when you say in town schools what are you referring to beis yaakov of boro park or yeshiva of flatbush? very different clientelle, very different price points but in a small OOT community all the kids go to the same elementary school and the school has to try to cater to both to the best of it's ability.

I agree with the previous posters who said that there are likely less big donors. the wealthy people aren't necessarily moving OOT for cheaper living Wink more scholarships because you can't tell the kids to just go elsewhere if they can't pay... so if the money isn't coming in from donations it will have to come in from some other which way. often times they have to get teachers to move to the community to teach so they have to make it worthwhile financially. In someplace like Lakewood which is considered very desirable for kollel people it will be a lot easier to find klei kodesh teachers.

Secular studies teachers will likely not be Jewish and need to be paid enough that they will pick working there over a different school...


I'm cynical also. My dh is an incredibly cynical baal teshuva. I get it.

We moved to Cincinnati. One of the considerations was the high price of tuition of some locations and I knew we wouldn't qualify for a tuition break. there were many other considerations. Here we would at least get vouchers so I'm pretty sure we are paying less to what we would be paying but cincinnat's edchoice might be changing to be completely income based...
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