A total of 158,481 students from kindergarten through 12th grade were enrolled in Jewish schools in New York state for the 2019-2020 school year.
This number marks a slight increase from the 156,113 students enrolled the previous year, and a 10.7 percent increase from the 143,156 students enrolled for the school year starting September 2014.
The data was compiled by the Orthodox Jewish Public Affairs Council (OJPAC) from records made available by the New York State Department of Education. OJPAC’s mission is to counter defamations and generalizations of the Orthodox Jewish community.
“The increase in Jewish school enrollment last year is the slowest that it has been in a while and reflects a mass exodus to New Jersey,” says Yossi Gestetner, a co-founder of OJPAC. “This slowdown confirms anecdotal evidence that the real estate market in the Jewish communities of Rockland and Orange counties had cooled off last year from the frenzy it experienced in 2018, but school enrollment in these areas are still growing strong.”
The counties with the most K-12 students in Jewish schools last school year were:
Brooklyn/Kings County with 84,771 students – a rise of 5.7 percent from 80,132 students five years earlier.
Rockland County with 29,697 students – a rise of 25.7 percent from 23,618 students five years earlier.
Orange County with 14,465 students – a rise of 31.5 percent from 10,997 students five years earlier.
Queens County with 11,815 students – an increase of 12.4 percent from 10,502 students five years earlier.
Nassau County with 8,043 students – an increase of 6 percent from 7,592 students five years earlier.
Manhattan/New York County with 4,422 students – virtually unchanged from 4,360 students five years earlier.
Meanwhile, non-public school enrollment in New York last school year was 390,779 – a drop from the 405,527 mark five years earlier. Jewish community schools made up 40.5 percent of non-public enrollment last year – up from its 35.3 percent share five years prior.
In Rockland County, Jewish community school enrollment comprises 93 percent of the total non-public K-12 enrollment and approximately 41.5% of all K-12 student enrollment in the county.
In Orange County, Jewish community schools make up 82.5 percent of all non-public school K-12 enrollment and 18.6 percent of total K-12 student enrollment in the county. (The public school count runs one year behind in this report as the state has yet to release the September 2019 numbers broken down by county).
Students attending non-public schools in New York receive on average fewer than $1,500 in tax-funded services a year, as opposed to the more than $23,000 that each public school student receives. This $21,500 gap in tax funds adds up to $3.4 billion a year.
Some students in New York City receive vouchers worth thousands of dollars a year, but even taking this and factors into consideration, yeshiva students save taxpayers more than $3 billion in annual school funding statewide.