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April 21, 2014 / 21 Nisan, 5774
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Time to Give Day School Parents a Break


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The public school system benefits indirectly, too. For every parent who can no longer afford tuition and moves a child out of a private or parochial school to public school, taxpayers must now pick up the entire cost. Here in Westchester County, that’s well above the statewide average of $19,000 per student, not including capital costs. By helping students stay in their existing Catholic or Jewish schools rather than transferring them into district or charter schools, such tax incentives will save the state and local school districts billions of dollars each year.

I agreed to allow students from my school to skip class to attend this rally to show them that what happens in government affects real people. Anyone who cares about a meaningful Jewish future in America should help make tuition scholarship tax credit programs a reality.

(JTA)

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About the Author: Rabbi Joshua Lookstein is head of Westchester Day School in Mamaroneck, N.Y.


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2 Responses to “Time to Give Day School Parents a Break”

  1. Ch Hoffman says:

    It would be wonderful to provide state funding for religious schools; it would be a lot closer to R Lookstein's wheelhouse were he to raise the more fundamental issue of Jewish funding – that a significant portion of Jewish philanthropic activities are misdirected to areas where the "jewish" component is optional.

    Every rabbi who supports uniquely Jewish ambulance services in NY, or a Jewish Hospital in NY, or a Jewish studies program at a university is robbing the day schools of funding. And every synagogue that makes itself, rather than its local day schools, the subject of its fundraising efforts is blatantly and shamelessly putting its prestige ahead of the Mitzvah of "vishinantem l'vanecha"

    Give up the chazan, and you pay tuition for 5 kids. Give up the fancy dinners and collect for the yeshivas instead.

  2. Anonymous says:

    First let me clarify, I am an orthodox Jew, a parent and I pay tuition.

    In looking for tuition credits/vouchers etc we too often falsely claim that we get no benefits from the public schools but unfairly have to pay for them. We forget/choose to ignore two major issues:

    1)We do benefit from the public schools and shifting funding away is not without cost to us. The public schools provide an important education for the others in our community with who we deal and often have to rely on. The public schools are able to and have set and agenda of tolerance and understanding which we greatly benefit from. Those of use who wear our yamalkas/kipot (to say nothing of hats, strimles, payot, shatles, tichles etc) on the the street and in the work place benefit daily from the this culture of tolerance which is taught there. Our very physical safety is enhanced, to say nothing of the the willingness of the non-Jews to accommodate our shabbos/yom tov and kasherous needs in various situations.

    2)The same vouchers/funding that would be available to yeshivas would also be available to schools teaching the Alkaida/Farakan brands of Moslem hatred. Such funding will allow more students to shift from the public schools to these schools.

    Yes we are hard pressed to pay our tuition bills, and yeshivot are hard pressed to pay their staffs, but will we really be better off with such tuition mechanisms, or are we trying to trade our good and relatively safe situation for money. We do benefit from the public schools and we need to be very careful in hurting them in any way.

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