Don’t Have An Answer, Just Wondering Out Loud

tuition pi[Reader Submitted] These days making a living is not easy. I am not talking about those who do not have jobs. That is an article in itself. I am referring to those who do. Those hard working individuals who put in long hours at their job and come home with a pay check which still does not cover the bills. Let’s take an example of a family of five children. Your typical mortgage of $2000 (including Taxes), Health insurance – $10-$12,000 annually, car insurance, utilities, clothing and food all equal somewhere in the area of $60,000 give or take. Did I mention Tuition? The average tuition is approximately $4000-$5000 per child. We now are up to approximately $80,000. Hopefully nothing will break in the house and no one will need new shoes. B’Chasdei H-Shem, we somehow manage to make it. Whether on our own or with the help of family, friends, and Tzedakah organizations, we make it.

The point of my letter is as follows and I direct it towards Mosdos Hachinuch. I understand how difficult it is to raise money and how important it is for Rabbeim and teachers to get paid. We are a nation of Rachmanim. We care and feel for every Yid. Why is it when you know that a family is having a hard time and can’t put food on the table you threaten a family with not taking back a student or withholding report cards, diplomas and the like. The pressure people are under is tremendous. Families try so hard not to let their kids know how bad it is so their self esteem will not be hurt. How can schools call up parents and tell them that they have to pay up or can’t send their child to school come September.

It is to you my dear school owners, administrators and Board members that I address this letter. Yes running a school is a tremendous job and the pressure of payrolls is difficult. But please think before you make the threatening phone call. Think of the added pressure you are now putting on this hard working family. Have Rachmonus.

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  1. I often wonder why it is that people think that a school can withstand no getting paid for its services. It has many employees to pay, creditors such as food vendors, etc demanding their due. A school cannot get by on no money. It is as simple as that. The reality is, is that the situation in Lakewood is unsustainable. A school could afford to sponsor a few families who are poor if the other families are ok, but in Lakewood the majority cannot pay their bills.
    As an aside as I’ve mentioned many times to many people, if you are in a school, please do not give any money to any Tzedakka before you pay the tuition that you owe. You can verify this with any Rav that you wish. You get a service, you owe the money.

  2. You are right, but do you have any suggestion as to how the school should put the money together to pay their bills?? Unfortunately tuition is the last thing on the list of expenses. Why? The school is doing a service for you of highest priority and they deserve to be paid on time. When they lack funds, unfortunately the service they provide suffers. Tuition should be the first on the list. Then comes the other expenses. Would you think of negotiating with your playgroup morah? Would you have complaints against the grocer when he calls to get paid? If they don’t put pressure on parents, many would push off paying their tuition unreasonably.

  3. The writer has a good point. However, people also have to prioritize who they give their money to. If you can get by with one car and instead have 2 with all its expenses, you should prioritize your child’s chinuch first. Obviously I am not referring to those that can afford both.

  4. why should the schools suffer more than anyone else? why should they lose out more than the grocery selling food. We don’t ask the grocery to lower their prices (which keep going up).

  5. @ #1. You repeat a point we have constantly heard in response to the author’s musings. I wonder though. Perhaps someone involved in running a school can respond here. Does the absence of the child ease the burden on the school? Does the school now pay less money per child? Perhaps I am being nieve (like I said just wondering not questioning), but it would seem that asking a just a few children to leave would not effect any significant relief. After all, they still have to pay the same rent amount etc even if there are five less kids in school. They would have to ask all non-paying (or not enough) students to leave and rely only on those paying enough to cover the budget. So yes, the school provides a service that you must pay for and we don’t expect the school to run without funds. However, perhaps the answer is not in expelling just a few children (I have not yet heard a case where a large number of children were asked to leave). The school should not accept any children who can’t afford to pay. .. just womdering …

  6. well written well said but, do you think if someone buys groceries time and time again on credit after some point the grocery will say no you cant come back. now why is that dif. then school if you dont pay for your services you cant come back- would you like schools to be like all groceries and have to pay up front no cuz ppl would scream so yes schools are allowing you to have credit but you need to pay up/


  8. i hope this letter does not get moderated out. Schools deserve to be paid. You will not get an argument from me on that. What happens when a family has no parnossa? The school admins put pressure on the parents. They can’t help it. They have no Job. The pressure does not make money come in. They then hold a gun to the head of the parents (pay or your child is out). How can one pay with what he doesn’t have? Putting pressure on a family that doesn’t have what to give is a sin (ask a real posek). So is ruining someone’s shalom Bayis.
    As far as throwing a kid out because the parents are broke, is it mutar to Kill a child for money? I know of one menahel who has terrorized parents to take out loans they can’t repay and then the menahel took a trip with his large family, to (moderated) for summer vacation. As far as the mashal of grocery stores vs schools I don’t feel this is a good comparison.

  9. Should the teachers go without pay because no one can afford their tuition? The teachers are parents providing for families as well.

    Prioritize. Tuition (also known as your child’s future) should come before everything with the exception of bare minimum essentials. People have been doing this since the beginning of time.

  10. Commenting on the pasuk, “Zion will be rebuilt with Tzedek”, as a precursor to the coming of Mashiach, the Vilna Gaon (I believe in “Kol HaTor”), interprets the word Tzedek in the following manner. The homes will not be disproportionate to each other. In other words, there will not be extremes in the use and display of homes: there won’t be million dollar (s) homes nor extremes of other material items such as Lexus vs. Sentras, etc. Since the Torah itself states that, “the poor shall not cease out of the land”, it is incumbent upon us to especially avoid excess in order to support our own people, especially in such fundamentals as providing basic sustenance and education. As a sidebar we have to remember that the Torah preceded creation and the creation exists only to fulfill the directives of the Torah.

    I realize that times are progressively more difficult. “Real” estate is no longer real and those who have money to “invest” in the gambling casino AKA the stock market will continue to lose it. Probably all of it very soon. We can see the suffering of our own people compounded by not heeding the words of the Gaon and delaying the Geulah Chas V’Shalom.

  11. can u imagine asking phone company to wait ? water ? insurance ? but mosdos yes.
    As mentioned if u are really hurting that bad, think what u could cut on. In erets yisroel there are families who only eat meat on Shabbos & who manage w/o a car. Iy”h things will improve.

  12. The writter is correct as he points out he is just making it, you want him to pay tution before electric? and then what?? just if the school would know whats coming in when, they could budget that way, no problem!!!

  13. The writer talked about threats. Not the need to pay. If someone pays nothing, all the grocery analogies may hold some water. But, if someone has to pay 8000 per year, and has only managed to pay 7000 so far, why is he persecuted. He’s trying. It may take a month or two, but he will pay. Even a grocer would sell food if he knows the person comes in regularly with money. So why make threats? That’s not the problem payer.

  14. What is that supposed to mean ” how important it is for Rabbeim and teachers to get paid”? It’s important? That is your responsibility. SInce when can a person take a service and not pay? Would you call JCP&L and tell them that you understand that it’s important they get paid but it’s not fair to shut your electricity? Would you call them and tell them to raise the money themselves? A teacher/rebbe are giving you a service. It is a necessary service that you must pay just as you pay for your electricity. Why do people think that teachers should forgive the paycheck and it is a favor that we are paying them? Why do people think that it’s the administrators job to collect money to give your child an education? I don’t care how hard you work (and no, I am not a teacher. I am a hard working individual who pays my tuition every month!) YOU go collecting the money to cover your child’s tuition. It is your responsibility and nobody elses! Just as you feed and clothe your child, you pay for tuition! Yes, having a lot of children is expensive. But that’s the job you have once they are born.

  15. TLS , you guys got to be kidding , why are u not posting my comment? If you want people to come to your site and keep it active you have to be non partial to a certain degree. I didnt mention any schools or names. My post is true and reality based on my own experience with 3 schools in town

  16. when people cant afford food they go to Tomchei Shabbos . They do not expect the gorocery owner to give them free food . We as a Tzibur need to create a Tomchei tuition for the needy among us . This is not the responsibility of the schooll just as its not the vresponsibility of the Grocery store . The school is in most cases already giving a reduced tuition and has to collect some percentage of most peoples real cost . They cant do more than that . Why should teachers and Rebeim not get paid . This letter makes no sense .

  17. I make it my priority to pay my tuition.. eventhough i am on a very very tight budget and it isnt easy .
    But now at the start of the school year im asked to give 150 dollars for each kid as registration fee every year ,a long list of school supplies, + additional money for extra supplies…. i hate to complain and i am very thankful to my school but what are they thinking we all have money waiting to be spent plus daycamps are a very big expense over the summer i just feel like enough is enough.

  18. The timing can also be an issue. One school sent me a $300 registration fee bill due by…. The same week they had a mandatory trip which cost $150 which is like paying double tuition in one month. I called and told them that it was too much at once and that I would pay for the trip the following month. They gave me a hard time, but in the end agreed to my terms.

  19. Maybe it is time we Lakewood do what Monroe and New Square has done. Enroll all our kids in the public school system. So what if our property taxes go up $1500.00 a year its still a HUGE savings for 70% of the population.

  20. Don’t waste so much time wondering;
    I have all the answers right here. There are many , many large families struggling, but there are some people who put their tuition last and some who make it a priority.

    There are some people out theer, very few, but some, who have yet to contribute even a nickel towards their tuition. they so willingly send their kids on the bus and the Rebbes/ teachers sweat, day in and day out; with the back of their mind wondring “How am I going to make it this month with another LATE PAYCHECK”?

    You, as the parent have an obligation OF HIRING A WORKER TO PAY YOUR WORKERS ON TIME. how dare you even write this letter. If you cant make ends meet, every rational school will work it out with you. do you go on vacation? have a new car? Send kids to sleepaway camp. even if you dont there are many many ways you can help out a school. bus monitor/ Lunch monitor The school dinner calling committe , cookie sales. theres just no excuse. What should the schools do? They are suffering and its all your fault for not paying your tuition. Most schools , if everyone paid on time would be pretty ok. Do you still have silver in your house? sell it, price is high. can you go door to door and sell rebbe pictures? Anyone who is normal and healthy can do something, go to your school and work it out with them. be creative! this letter makes me sick to my stomach. It goes to show you have zero appreciation for what you get.

  21. Give one fee for tuition, there should not be and side fees, cut out the registration fee, book fee, building fee, dinner fee ect. Then one tuition fee whatever it is should be paid on time by all. This would bring down the tuition by apx 800 to 1000 over the school year less pressure on the parents and administrators .

  22. Halevai every school would have a board!

    What is considered fair tuition?
    If there was a set price that would cover all expenses, and schools wouldn’t charge $500 a month I think a lot more people would subconsciously say they can pay and actually pay, rather than just saying it’s to much money and throw their hands in air and not even attempt.

    School should not be a money making business! It’s hekdesh!

  23. #23- the schools are not money-making businesses; the issue the piece brings up is whether the schools are acting properly in collecting tuition

    A number of the commentators have made the point that we must reset our priorities. If our priorities are the Mosdos HaChinuch and not the hotel for Pesach then we would be better off.

    Also, if you have some skill that you could utilize for the Mosdos then that should also be your priority. For example, if you are an accountant and could do some bookkeeping for the Mossad then, depending on your circumstances, you should offer that service, especially if you are having difficulty payind tuition.

    If we would realize that sending our children to Mosdei Hachinuch in Lakewood is a zchus, we would prioritize our Mosdos and this issue would not be as pressing.

  24. This is like the famous story of the Rav who had two litgants infront of him. Reuven stated his case, and the Rav said to him, you’re right. Shimon stated his case, and the Rav said, you’re right. The Rebbetzin, who had been listening in, said to the Rav, they can’t both be right. The Rav sighed and responded, you’re also right!

    The truth is that there’s no panacea for these problems. People have trouble paying, but schools are not getting rich on the $5000 they charge – in fact, they are always in danger of not making payroll. The only way to make the situation better is to try to fine tune the process from many different angles. Maybe parents who have professional skills could volunteer at the school for partial tuition credit. Maybe the schools can do a slightly better job impressing upon parents who DO have the means to contribute more, that their child’s school should be the first priority. The rich people are already squeezed dry, no doubt, but maybe there are some middle class people who aren’t being reached completely.

    One thing that I think would be a big help, although it’s counterintuitive, is if Rebbeim and teachers would stay home the very first day a payckeck is late. Working for months with no pay only has a domino effect, and causes the school’s problems to snowball as well. Refusing to work for free would force the schools and the parent body to be as diligent as possible – not that they aren’t already, but there’s another level of diligence when your kids don’t have anywhere to go all day – in working out cash flow problems quickly and thoroughly, or forcing more radical solutions if this is not possible.

  25. Dear Writer,
    Yes I share your pressures.But questions I have to ask you and maybe you should have asked yourself these questions:
    1) do you go away on vacations
    2) do you send your kids to camp
    3) have you put your self / household on a budget
    4) are you honest with your children and tell them we cant afford it now

    I can go on and on with questions like these. Does my daughter who teaches in X girls school have to go without three paychecks,she already taught your daughters. I think you should adjust your priorities and stop feeling sorry for yourself. Thank Hashem what he has given you ,

    I am sorry for sounding so mean but the Yeshivas must be paid first.

  26. please understand that I as the owner of a grocery store work to make a living so I that I can pay my bills (I pay full tuition ) but if the administrator can’t raise a penny why should my tuition go up let’s fire him & get someone to raise funds for those that can’t pay

  27. I’m just wondering why modos in bp can live on 250 a month or even bais avraham can live on 350 a month and other need 500 a month why chinuch is not a luxary we don’t have a choice but to send dobt rip us off

  28. why is a school different than your childs playgroup? Do you ask your playgroup Morah to take your child free of charge as well??

  29. The issue is not 350 or 500 a month. The issue is paying what you promised. If every parent paid 350 a month every month without fail then most schools would make it. The problem is the growing number of parents who just don’t pay.

  30. Here are 5 possible solutions.

    1) The community establishes a low-fee or free school.
    2) Home schooling
    3) Groups of parents share home schooling
    4) Groups of parents hire teachers.
    5) Establish a publicly funded school.

  31. I myslef will take off my hat to every kollel yungerman. Ont he same note I B’H try to pay up what i ahve agreed to pay the mosdos as fast as possibile sometime before the school year -sometime mid year. My business high time is the summer and the winter is very slow so for me it is best to know that i paid my tuition. i dont own a houe and YES i went to Eretz Yisroel this past year with free tickets after 12 years being married and not taking a vacation. My kids go tot local day camps and i am not sure what i will do if and when they want to go to sleep away.

    To me paying sichar limud is #1 before a house , car , new couch (need one- or shoudl i say would like one) and vacation( hahah).

    OK so here the real point. WHY DOES THE MOSDOS TRY TO RAISE ME EVERY YEAR. I PAY EARLY> I PAY TO WHAT I AGREE> Call all the parents who own fancy homes. go on vacations and luxry with anme brand clothings oozing all over and ask them to pay their past due tuition BEFORE YOU COME TO ME AND ASK FOR MORE THAN WHAT I CAN AFFORD!!!!!!

    yes I am not on any commitee for the school and i am not rich enough to be asked an opinion. But dont beat me up. If I could do more i would. We all would.

    Look working people pay taxes and health insurance is more like 20K with deductibile. At the end of the day some people on the programs are better off than those worling full time.

    I thinklt he burden for tuition needs to be spread out and not soley on the “workign class”

  32. I paid for 7 years full never asking for a reduction and never a day late a few months ago I lost my job,I called yeshiva ….. A few days ago with a question and they woudnt talk to me,why not? I was 8 days late on a payment!!!

  33. • I myself will take off my hat to every kollel yungerman. Ont he same note I B’H try to pay up what i have agreed to pay the mosdos as fast as possible sometime before the school year -sometime mid year. My business high time is the summer and the winter is very slow so for me it is best to know that I paid my tuition. I don’t own a house and YES I went to Eretz Yisroel this past year with free tickets after 12 years being married and not taking a vacation. My kids go tot local day camps and i am not sure what i will do if and when they want to go to sleep away.
    To me paying sichar limud is #1 before a house , car , new couch (need one- or shoudl i say would like one) and vacation( hahah).
    OK so here the real point. WHY DOES THE MOSDOS TRY TO RAISE ME EVERY YEAR. I PAY EARLY> I PAY TO WHAT I AGREE> Call all the parents who own fancy homes. go on vacations and luxury with brand name matching clothing’s oozing all over and ask them to pay their past due tuition BEFORE YOU COME TO ME AND ASK FOR MORE THAN WHAT I CAN AFFORD!!!!!!
    yes I am not on any committee for the school and i am not rich enough to be asked an opinion. But don’t beat me up. If I could do more i would. We all would.
    Look working people pay taxes and health insurance is more like 20K with deductible. At the end of the day some people on the programs are better off than those working full time.
    I think the burden for tuition needs to be spread out and not solely on the “working class”

  34. to many schools. everyone duplicating services. 30 schools = 30 principals, 30 administrators 30 ‘deans’ etc etc… combine schools (not chasidish and litvish) and economy of scales kicks in. Lakewood just cant afford the luxury of so many diff schools. bus routes easier as well.

  35. Wah wah wah….Try living in brooklyn and paying double that for tuition. Appreciate the relatively low prices you are paying….5 grand is a joke

  36. Perhaps it is time people stopped buying “affordable” townhouses starting at “just” $450,000 with 8 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, “upgraded” granite countertops and stainless steel appliances. Maybe then you will have more money left over for other expense.

  37. The schools need to learn how to connect with the parents more and it will help raise money. Make the Mosod an attractive place where the parents and their freinds would contribute. I personally am not to fond of my kids cheder. I am scared to switch because it may be difficult getting in elsewhere.

  38. There is no question that teachers need to get paid more & on time.
    There is also no question that many working (and learning) families are struggling to cover the basics (and no, they’re not taking vacations, etc), and that those that are “abusing” the system and shirking their responsibility are wrong.
    Having said all that, I question the tzedakah system we have…should the bulk of our funds go to our mosdos, or should they go to “kiruv”? Kiruv rechokim is important – but isn’t kiruv kerovim more important? We would spend who knows how much to make someone frum(er)…but what about the kids we already have in yeshivah?? We should give up on them because a parent is struggling – and when they’re “off the derech” we’ll “spend” double to be “mekariv” them??

  39. The girls schools are businesses and they make a nice amount of $. If only they wouldn’t turn away the guys who are wealthy and want to be in their schools and who do offer big checks to get in then there wouldn’t be an issue with covering payroll. The boys schools do have this issue though. A rich man from Toronto once told me ” there’s enough tzedaka money to support all the mosdos in the world, u just have to go out and get it”

  40. Do you pay 9-12,000 a year property tax. And you have a bungalow in the country.

    Stay in brooklyn. The problem is that Lakewood has changed from what was mainly a yeshiva community with low expectations to another cold Brooklyn attitude with what are the Jones next door having. Not like the entire town is like this – but a significant group are. The cost of living is inflated because we allow it with our living expectations.

  41. No I am not gonna part with my $950 bug-a boo stroller, I need my $25,000 diamonds and yes I only drive a new car and iwill not clean the house my self my goya does that for me 5 times a week and I do need my bi yearly vacations and its not just some junky place in the catskills its overseas 5 star and I only fly first class cause my back hurts, oh I almost forgot the dresses? My kids and my self DO NOT SHOP AT WALLMART these Chinese junks do not enter my house, Do I know what bedbugs they have in changyang? Not in my home, that china imitation junk does not enter my door Oh the schar limud tuition? Yes I do have 5 kids in school but the yeshiva will figure out how to fund raise already thank god that not my head each and don’t they dare to send home my kid or even withold the report Cards after all my name is YENTA

  42. You claim that the girls schools are a business abd make a lot of money . I spoke to somebody running such a school and he wants to make a deal with you . You come up with the money every month to run the school and pay salariesmortgage utilities etc on time and he will give you all of the “lot of money ” profits . It sounds like a great deal . Only problem is when you figure out that you will lose money every month .

  43. no job = no ability to pay. Perhaps #46 needs to have a home visit done by the mosad and bill appropriatly or throw this type of Brooklyn Rubbish out. While we are on the subject how about all the fake grades on the report cards? Do you know what your kid is really up to or is the staff just trying to cover themselves? This IS a MAJOr problem in Lakewood as several rebbeim/Teachers from different mosdos have told me. Please don’t moderate this out.

  44. I find it amusing that Lakewood has trouble supporting its schools that are “required”, but the Benetton store, and the others which provide luxury items seems to be doing just fine.

    If you cannot pay for school, there is always the public option. If you feel that you cannot do that (for good reason), then perhaps home schooling is the next best option. If you can’t do that, then perhaps you should take up the mantle of raising the funds to support your children’s education rather than relying solely on others to raise the money. When you bring children into the world, you must understand that you are the primary provider. Yes Hashem will help, but help assumes that you are taking all possible steps first, not jumping straight to the dole.

    In my family, I work one job, and hustle for extra money (odd jobs/tutoring), my wife works a full time job, a part time job, and hustles for extra opportunities, and my oldest daughter (just turned 18), is working a full-time job and two part time jobs (as well as volunteering as an EMT) to have money for the college school year. We are also taking in a boarder in order to be able to send our youngest to pre-school. Even with all that, it’s still hard to be able to provide my family with everything that I want to give them. So I don’t. But education is a much higher priority than luxuries.

  45. Why do people choose to open chadarim? No sane person would open a grocery store if they knew beforehand it was a losing proposition.

  46. to dead broke #48. I couldn’t agree with you more. I have a child in a local mosad whose english teacher kicked him and several other kids out every other day last year. When we got the child’s report card the teacher gave him A’s and wrote what a pleasure it was to teach him! I showed the report card to the child and he responded..”This is such a bunch of Buloneee! He kcikcked me out all the time and then said I was a pleasure to teach???? Lest you think this is a isolated case, I have one freind who taught in a different school and graded his report cards honestly. He was confronted by the priciple and told to either change the grades to “something the parents could handle seeing” or be fired. The teacher stood his ground and was not fired. The parents were furious that he dare give such a low grade, to which the teacher responded “you need to know the truth about how your son is really doing. If you don’t likethe grade then let him try harder in class or tutor him. This is the grade he earned. I have a nother freind who is a rebbe in a well know cheder, and he was bemoaning the fact that the rebbeim are not permitted to tell the truth on report cards lest it upset the parents. Attn: TLS please don’t moderate this.
    It’s too important. How a bout a new thread on this subject?

  47. Are Schools Willilng to open there books to show us what they are spending money on? Are they willing to show us all their accounts?Maybe we can help eliminate unnecessary expenses? What about School “officials” going to (moderated) 2 times a year and spending money when they claim that their schooldoes not have any money?

  48. The amount of money spent sending girls to seminary is also money that could be better spent paying tuition to our schools. (No, not everyone is able to get govt. grants for cheap sem tuition) When did seminary become mandatory instead of optional? When did it become a necessity instead of a luxury? Our girls are graduating High School at an older age these days because of earlier cut off dates in primary. At age 18- 19, they can start working, or continuing courses or whatever. This is how it was until 20- 30 years ago. I’m not saying that Sem is not a good thing, but not every good thing is a necessity. Perhaps the policy should be that if you can afford to send your daughter to Seminary, then you must pay your tuition first.

  49. Everyone has great points all around. The schools defiinitely should be a priority on a persons list of bills to pay. It should definitely come before any fancy strollers and furniture and vacations, etc.

    There is one issue that I don’t think was addressed yet. The fact that mosdos charge two seperate amounts for learning people versus working people. If someone is learning full time and could aford all the luxuries in the world does he require a reduced price? Now,I know that most people who are learning are not that way. I mean this theoretically to bring out a point that if reductions in tuition are being given out. It should be based on need and not learning versus working. I understand that it’s difficult for a mosod to guage the amount a person could afford, but this method is totally innacurate.

    There are many people who are working and earning say $60,000 who are worse off financially from someone in Kollel whose wife is earing $25,000 running a playgroup. The reason is because of the programs that they b”h have and the taxes that they get back at the end of the year.

    It would make more sense to assess everyone at the same amount and anyone who wants a reduction would have to produce a paper stating their annual money that comes in and the annual amount going out and from there the mosod would be able to guage who indeed is in need. I think the paper should include the amounts people receive from HUD and JerseyCare and Food Stamps either as money coming in or a reduction of money going out.

  50. Please note that in most schools , a working person who is struggling financially and living a struggling lifestyle will not be asked to pay more than a similar kollel yungerman .


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