Petition: Day School Tuition Should Not Be Counted as Income

The following petition was started by a Lakewood resident and submitted to TLS.

If you are part of the Jewish Community, you have a clear understanding of what the word tuition means and how it affects us financially. For most of us, public school is not an option and we are so to speak forced to shell out more money than many of us can afford. (A concept those not in the community have difficulty understanding.)

We save the state thousands upon thousands of dollars for each of our children that they aren’t responsible to educate, and we shoulder the costs alone.

But the financial burden has reached its limits. People are not making ends meet.

This is not a new issue nor exclusive to NJ. However we have to start somewhere so I will start where I live and hope others will follow my lead. We need legislation to be created in our favor to somewhat relieve the burden.

I think one of our biggest hardships is that the state does not recognize tuition payments as an expense that comes off the top of our income. For example, a family making a mere 40,000-50,000 could be shelling out 16000 or more a year on tuition but when it comes to recognizing their “poverty” status it will not reflect correctly.


Because by state law, the tuition expense is counted as part of their income.

But in reality… that money never makes it into pocket!!!

They should be recognized as making only 24,000 a year which is what is really happening! Try doing the math of life expenses and there is nothing to live off of but miracles.

We need this to change now!

People are being thrown off of government assistance when they need it for survival.

They cannot afford food. They cannot afford insurance. They cannot afford housing. And they cannot afford basic clothing and living expenses.

(And even those that can are hurting from it too!)

But legislature seems to think everyone is richer than they are because they look at the income numbers before our non-optional tuition is deducted.

And there is nobody to talk to for this change.

It is up to us, the people, to speak up and finally have our rights and needs recognized.

Tuition is coming out of our bottom dollar and this needs to be fairly recognized, as a non luxury item.

Please sign this petition to have our senators and congress create legislation that Tuition should absolutely NOT BE COUNTED AS INCOME.

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  1. Aguda AGUDA aguda Aguda AGUDA aguda aguda aguda aguda aguda aguda aguda AGUDA AGUDA AGUDA AGUDA!!!!
    This is definitely one of the issues that Aguda should be spearheading.
    But Kol Hakavod to the individual that is actually behind it.

  2. In the secular world private school tuition is looked at as a luxury that the indigent can not afford, and should not be paying for. The idea that it should not count toward government assistance limits would be viewed as absurd. The petition in its current form will go nowhere. Focus on tax breaks for private school tuition or vouchers instead.

    • I am not sure what you mean by the “secular world” It surely doesn’t mean the non-Jewish world. There are far more non Jews in parochial schools then there are Jewish people.

      The teachers unions spend huge amounts of money fighting any progress in school choice, including vouchers, charter schools, or even tax deductions. they also spend a fortune on PR demonizing school choice as “stealing” from public education.

      There needs to be a stronger PR campaign to fight the teachers unions, whose primary concern is not the education of their students. It would be difficult as they have massive amounts of money from union dues.

  3. The fact that we feel the need to privately school our children does not change the fact that it is a luxury. To a Non Jew, it sounds the same as complaining that you cant take a tax break for your BMW or Mercedes car.

    The argument that we pay so much in taxes but receive so much less in return is a valid one. The problem is that laws dont work with “Lomdus”. At the end of the day Private school is a luxury and that’s how it will be viewed.

  4. Similar issue was raised in NY City. and one of the solution was, that local officials pay attention, is to offer register all Yeshiva student to public schools and see how the budget will collapse .
    I wonder if in Lakewood , next year all student of Yeshiva will register in public school , what happened ?

    • Moshe, this threat to register all the private school students in public school comes up every year. No one takes it seriously. Public schools put boys and girls in the same bus, same school, same classroom and teaches the same curriculum. Never going to happen.

      • Plus public schools cannot teach religion Children would be subjected to a non-secular education during the day and religion would have to be taught separately when public schools are not in session. Too much for children and parents.

  5. This petition will actually hurt our cause. It is one thing to try to get vouchers or try to get the cost of tuition to he partially deductible as an expense on your tax return .

    But to the world at large ,private school tuition is considered a luxury and claiming you are poor and want programs while spending on what they consider a luxury , is just hurting your cause . Vehamevin Yovin.

  6. As long as a free public education is provided, they will never deduct tuition. Like Anon said, vouchers are the only option.

    Moshe- putting all students in public might bankrupt the system. But only after being mixed on buses and in gym together, reading secular literature.

  7. Does NJ have Section 529 plans? Consult your accountant to ensure this situation applies to you, but under the new tax law, contributions to Section 529 plans are deductible for state income, and can be used for K-12 as well as college expenses. While it may not help regarding programs, at least it should help regarding state income taxes

  8. This petition should specify that it’s for those sending to religious schools,not private.
    Of course those sending to private school are looked at as luxury,put those sending to religious schools have no choice.
    This petition is very reasonable. All its asking is to be able to deduct the amount of tuition from the amount Jersey care or others consider to be your income.

  9. Yaakov- it was just last year that BMG was refused a grant based It being a religious facility. And with many yeshivas not being state accredited, the state is even less likely to give vouchers for them.

    And with all the antisemitism and “special treatment” over welfare, the last thing anyone needs is people complaining that the vouchers are for religious schools and not everyone.

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