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amother




OP
 

Post Wed, May 12 2021, 10:53 am
I was pondering my school tuition situation and couldn't help but post to hear what you lovely ladies have to say on the matter.

I live OOT where tuition is $10,000 (elementary) and only goes up from there. The schools work with you and it is pretty mainstream to receive a tuition break. I know this tuition is on the higher end of the range in the frum world but even $3,4,5,6,000 a child still supports my point.

Regardless, I cannot help but think that education system is a big oxymoron. On the one hand, we need to send our children to school to receive a fine Jewish education. Part of that education (at least in my understanding) is to give tzedaka, support jewish causes (shuls, schools, other organizations), live modestly (not ostentatiously), and be a contributing member of our Jewish society in general.

On the other hand, the schools are setting the "money bar" SO high. For me, even 1 or 2 children at full tuition tuition is extremely difficult to manage. More than that is not possible. I must ask for a break. In other places, where the tuition is less, maybe it is manageable for a few children, but any more sounds impossible to me as well.

So, what it seems is that we are expected to:
1) Make a huge salary (somehow)
2) Hand it over to our schools
3) Live on tight budgets, very simply, with financial stress whole making 6 figure salaries

Does anyone else see how this is not fair? Expect people to work SO hard and make SO much money, only to hand it all over and live like paupers (or close to it).

Yes, sending your children to private school is a choice. Yes, schools are usually desperate for money and in difficult financial situations. But something is not adding up here.

I would love to hear other's perspectives!
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amother




Cerulean
 

Post Wed, May 12 2021, 10:58 am
What's not adding up?

Do you think the administrators are walking away with millions?
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amother




Linen
 

Post Wed, May 12 2021, 11:00 am
There's no secret here. It costs a lot of money to run a school.
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amother




Khaki
 

Post Wed, May 12 2021, 11:20 am
I live in Ohio, in a city where elementary tuition is about $11,000 per year, but vouchers cover $4650 per year. Even with the vouchers, there are not too many families who pay full tuition. The schools do a lot of fundraising and also get some funds from the broader Jewish community.

But I don't see that our schools are overcharging. If anything, I suspect the cost per student may be higher than even the full tuition.
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amother




Pumpkin
 

Post Wed, May 12 2021, 11:43 am
So this is how I look at it.

200 years ago, in the shtetl. (Or think Rabbi Akiva on the rooftop) There was no public school. Education was not a right, it was a privilege. People hired Rebbeyim/tutors to teach their children. It was expensive. You needed to pay a living wage and maybe in a wealthy community there was competition for the best teachers, alternatively in lean years, there was no money to pay teachers and teachers went without work and kids without education.

We now have a school system, where we collectively chip in to pay for the building, heat, lights, and the teacher (along with all the other expenses including administrative costs). The big difference now is that as public schools exist, we feel entitled to education as opposed to privileged.

I hate how high my tuition is (just imagine an MO HS in the NY area). It impacts my quality of life, but it is my choice to send to Day School and not free public school. I believe that they don’t overcharge, nobody is making a killing, but rather tuition is to cover the expenses.
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amother




OP
 

Post Wed, May 12 2021, 11:48 am
amother [ Cerulean ] wrote:
What's not adding up?

Do you think the administrators are walking away with millions?


I did not mean adding up in a literal sense. And no, I don't think administrators are walking away with tons of money.

I just feel uncomfortable with an expectation being set of being wealthy and paying the full MSRP price on school but also being forced to live an extremely budgeted life. I just don't think it is very fair for people to be expected to live like that.

And then additionally, there is lots of talk of "lowering the standards" of materialism in the frum world. And I cannot help but think, no kidding there is a ton of materialism, people are expected to make 6 digit salaries to pay tuition. If people are making that much money, it is highly unlikely for standards NOT to rise.
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Hashem_Yaazor




 
 
 
 

Post Wed, May 12 2021, 11:48 am
amother [ Khaki ] wrote:
I live in Ohio, in a city where elementary tuition is about $11,000 per year, but vouchers cover $4650 per year. Even with the vouchers, there are not too many families who pay full tuition. The schools do a lot of fundraising and also get some funds from the broader Jewish community.

But I don't see that our schools are overcharging. If anything, I suspect the cost per student may be higher than even the full tuition.

That is correct.
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amother




OP
 

Post Wed, May 12 2021, 11:53 am
amother [ Khaki ] wrote:
I live in Ohio, in a city where elementary tuition is about $11,000 per year, but vouchers cover $4650 per year. Even with the vouchers, there are not too many families who pay full tuition. The schools do a lot of fundraising and also get some funds from the broader Jewish community.

But I don't see that our schools are overcharging. If anything, I suspect the cost per student may be higher than even the full tuition.


The whole voucher situation is an exception. And I am not accusing schools of overcharging. I am not a school financial administrator. I cannot comment on that specifically and I trust most are doing the best they can to run their schools.
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amother




Khaki
 

Post Wed, May 12 2021, 11:55 am
Even if schools taught nothing, they are caring for and supervising our kids 7-8 hours per day, five days a week, and sometimes a little more, depending on whether there is Sunday instruction. I did a back of the envelope calculation and it looks like the full tuition (ignoring voucher) comes to only a little over $9/hour/child.

Of course, the schools also teach.
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amother




Aubergine
 

Post Wed, May 12 2021, 11:56 am
As someone who’s family owns 2 large elementary schools. They should be money making institutions if they are run efficiently and correctly. And tuition is standard by us (standard is high). There’s fundraising specifically for the tuition fund and tremendous amount of resources invested in getting lots of govt funding.
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amother




Smokey
 

Post Wed, May 12 2021, 11:57 am
amother [ OP ] wrote:
I did not mean adding up in a literal sense. And no, I don't think administrators are walking away with tons of money.

I just feel uncomfortable with an expectation being set of being wealthy and paying the full MSRP price on school but also being forced to live an extremely budgeted life. I just don't think it is very fair for people to be expected to live like that.

And then additionally, there is lots of talk of "lowering the standards" of materialism in the frum world. And I cannot help but think, no kidding there is a ton of materialism, people are expected to make 6 digit salaries to pay tuition. If people are making that much money, it is highly unlikely for standards NOT to rise.


What is more important to spend money on then your kids education?
What is the goal to use the money for:
Vacations
Fancier food
Bigger house
Nicer clothing
More tzedakah

Which priorities are we budgeting so our kids will be lucky enough to learn Torah?
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amother




OP
 

Post Wed, May 12 2021, 11:59 am
amother [ Smokey ] wrote:
What is more important to spend money on then your kids education?


It is not about the money would otherwise be spent on. If someone is making a 6 figure salary, I think they should be able to live like a mentch without massive financial stress hanging over their heads.
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amother




Linen
 

Post Wed, May 12 2021, 11:59 am
The great failure of day schools is that you need to be in the top five percent of earners to afford them. The fact is that families value Torah so much they are willing to pay. That's an amazing, if unsustainable, situation.

Religious public schools are available but you have to be willing to live in Israel to take advantage of them.
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amother




Linen
 

Post Wed, May 12 2021, 12:02 pm
amother [ Aubergine ] wrote:
As someone who’s family owns 2 large elementary schools. They should be money making institutions if they are run efficiently and correctly. And tuition is standard by us (standard is high). There’s fundraising specifically for the tuition fund and tremendous amount of resources invested in getting lots of govt funding.


In the MO world, schools are community institutions. They are not owned. No one makes a profit.
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amother




OP
 

Post Wed, May 12 2021, 12:04 pm
amother [ Pumpkin ] wrote:
So this is how I look at it.

200 years ago, in the shtetl. (Or think Rabbi Akiva on the rooftop) There was no public school. Education was not a right, it was a privilege. People hired Rebbeyim/tutors to teach their children. It was expensive. You needed to pay a living wage and maybe in a wealthy community there was competition for the best teachers, alternatively in lean years, there was no money to pay teachers and teachers went without work and kids without education.

We now have a school system, where we collectively chip in to pay for the building, heat, lights, and the teacher (along with all the other expenses including administrative costs). The big difference now is that as public schools exist, we feel entitled to education as opposed to privileged.

I hate how high my tuition is (just imagine an MO HS in the NY area). It impacts my quality of life, but it is my choice to send to Day School and not free public school. I believe that they don’t overcharge, nobody is making a killing, but rather tuition is to cover the expenses.


I can appreciate this perspective. Education has become more of a need compared to historical times. And public school definitely increases that sense of entitlement.
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amother




Smokey
 

Post Wed, May 12 2021, 12:05 pm
amother [ OP ] wrote:
It is not about the money would otherwise be spent on. If someone is making a 6 figure salary, I think they should be able to live like a mentch without massive financial stress hanging over their heads.


You can be rich from six figures
If they choose to have 1-2 children
If they choose to send to private school
If they don’t eat kosher food
If they don’t send to camp
If they don’t have yom tov expenses
If they don’t have to buy tzinius clothing.
If you make small 20 ppl weddings

Jewish life is expensive overall. Torah education is a part of it.

Yes if you weren’t frum then you wouldn’t have to worry about a Torah education and be rich.
But you can’t have both
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amother




Khaki
 

Post Wed, May 12 2021, 12:21 pm
It's worth remembering that even a modest, very budgeted lifestyle in the US is quite safe, hygienic, and luxurious compared to how most people in the world live today and how Jews lived for most of history. People earming six figure incomes may be working long hours sometimes, but most in the frum community are not putting themselves at risk of life and limb.

My biggest concern about tuition costs is whether we as a community can sustain private Jewish education at all. I don't see it as a cosmic injustice that relatively high earners may need to budget or ask for breaks.
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amother




Plum
 

Post Wed, May 12 2021, 1:33 pm
amother [ OP ] wrote:
The whole voucher situation is an exception. And I am not accusing schools of overcharging. I am not a school financial administrator. I cannot comment on that specifically and I trust most are doing the best they can to run their schools.


I live in a place with vouchers. Even with vouchers, with a small family full tuition is still a nice chunk of our take home pay. We basically pay full tuition right now but my dh is resentful and not sure what will be once all our kids are in school full time. He's already talking about filling out forms for tuition breaks because he's fed up. I think it's hard to know that you are paying more then most people for the same exact service. OK some people are altruistic and want to support the local school, feeling it's a community responsibility but if you aren't and you don't then it's tough... personally I feel a sense of responsibility to pay for the cost of my kid if I can but....


I know someone who switched her kids to public school. I think part was her being frustrated that she had to pay so much in tuition that she didn't feel like their family had the type of money they supposedly were earning...
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amother




Burgundy
 

Post Wed, May 12 2021, 1:38 pm
amother [ Smokey ] wrote:
What is more important to spend money on then your kids education?
What is the goal to use the money for:
Vacations
Fancier food
Bigger house
Nicer clothing
More tzedakah

Which priorities are we budgeting so our kids will be lucky enough to learn Torah?


I'm talking about just simply owning a house vs renting
Nothing fancy
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amother




Cerulean
 

Post Wed, May 12 2021, 1:44 pm
amother [ OP ] wrote:
I did not mean adding up in a literal sense. And no, I don't think administrators are walking away with tons of money.

I just feel uncomfortable with an expectation being set of being wealthy and paying the full MSRP price on school but also being forced to live an extremely budgeted life. I just don't think it is very fair for people to be expected to live like that.

And then additionally, there is lots of talk of "lowering the standards" of materialism in the frum world. And I cannot help but think, no kidding there is a ton of materialism, people are expected to make 6 digit salaries to pay tuition. If people are making that much money, it is highly unlikely for standards NOT to rise.


No one is wealthy, paying full tuition and live an extremely budgeted life...

Anyway - yes for many years people work to support their family, which means paying for children's education. Once you accept that idea - its not really so hard to fathom all this.

You many not believe this - but people can both make six digit salaries and not be materialistic.
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