Wednesday, June 27, 2012

RYNJ Publishes Budget

We talked about the RYNJ Budget last week but I think it should get its own post.  The budget is posted on their website. I had a chance the go through the whole thing & here's what I found interesting in it:

1.  Enrollment has been going up steadily since 1990 despite the addition of 2 similar schools opening up during that time in neighboring Paramus.  So those who say the JDS system is dying out are wrong.

2. In a paragraph about reducing costs they state "We plan to increase use of technology to improve educational efficiencies as much as possible."  So they agree that technology can be utilized, at least somewhat, to reduce costs.  Yavneh also stated that in this video.  So maybe He'atid is not so crazy for thinking the same thing.  Of course we don't know to what degree the costs can be reduced with technology.

3. The report says that the scholarship costs that are "baked-in" to tuition, as oppose to coming from voluntary donations (including the Dinner, UJA and NNJKIDS), comes to $300/student.  This is a lot less than some people assume.  However, it doesn't account for the $300,000 in "Delayed Tuition Payments" included in page 19 of the budget.  Not sure what exactly that means.  If it's really just delayed, they should be getting payments that were delayed from the previous year and it should be pretty much  a wash, with maybe a 5% loss factor for interest on loans that they need to take to cover the delays.  Either way that's really another $300 per student that's baked in.  Plus scholarship parents are often forgiven for the $850 dinner obligation which, if applies to 20% of students means that the other parents are paying another $170 per child.  Still, $770 is still a pretty small part of overall tuition.

I thank the staff at RYNJ for providing all of this information.  It really helps the conversation to see how exactly our hard earned money is being spent.  I hope all the other schools will follow suit.

Friday, June 22, 2012

SACS and the Township, Part 3

Teaneck Patch and the Teaneck Suburbanite both reported on the zoning board hearing that was supposed to take place last night to discuss Shalom Academy's application to set up the Hebrew-immersion charter school in the building at 125 Galway Place.  However, a resident reported that there was a sign on the door last night saying the meeting was pushed off to July 19th.  Anyone know what's going on?  It's getting really late for a Fall opening.

Meanwhile, across the river they are having much more success.  A Hebrew Immersion charter school got all the necessary approvals to open in the Harlem neighborhood of Manhattan.  Too bad NJ residents are not eligible to attend.

Hebrew-language charter school in N.Y.’s Harlem gets go-ahead

NEW YORK (JTA) -- A Hebrew-language charter school approved for the Harlem neighborhood of New York is scheduled to open in the fall of 2013.
The Harlem Hebrew Language Academy Charter School was formally approved Tuesday by the New York State Board of Regents. It will be modeled after the Hebrew Language Academy Charter School in Brooklyn.
The Harlem school, which borders on the heavily Jewish Upper West Side of Manhattan, will open with 156 students in grades K-1 and plans to grow over the next five years to 446 students in K-5. Lessons will be taught in Hebrew and English.
“There are a number of charter schools in Harlem, but there are not a lot of dual-language schools in Harlem and the Upper West Side,” Dan Gerstein, a media spokesman for the Hebrew Charter School Center, told JTA. “There’s a demand for other options, so this will give parents in those communities the choice to choose a great school for their child.”
Harlem Hebrew will be the fifth school in the Hebrew Charter School Center network and the third to be granted a charter this spring.
One of the goals of the school is to attract a diverse student body that exposes students of all backgrounds to the Hebrew language.
“We are incredibly proud of the success we have had with HLA in Brooklyn, which is 55 percent white and 45 percent minority, making it one of the most integrated public schools in New York City,” said co-lead applicant Sara Berman in a statement. “We are committed to building on that success at Harlem Hebrew and bringing together students from diverse communities in this school district."

Thursday, June 21, 2012

"Goldbergs" Convert to Islam

I couldn't find too much information online about the local lef Al-Ghazaly High School, but the Annur school in Schenectady I found the tuition to be a fraction of what we pay for local Yeshiva Day Schools.

I did calculations for a hypothetical family of 5 called the Goldbergs & found out how much they would be paying to send their 3 kids to a local YDS.  The prices ranged from about $30,000 to $60,000 per year.

At Annur they would be paying......$1,195!   No that's not a typo.  They even qualify for a 5% reduction if they pay up front.

[Editor's note: That may be amount of each of the 10 installments.  The wording on the website was a little vague.  Still, $11,950 per year is a lot less than we pay.  They must be getting serious voluntary contributions. I think they take Zakah more seriously than we take Ma'aser]

They have a full 180 days in the school calendar despite having to take off 3 days for Eid Al-Adha.

And what I like personally is that the budget is right there on the website.  Both revenue and expenses.  There is nothing to hide!  No need for bloggers to speculate.  I know some local YDS board members have suggested doing that but apparently they were overruled.

Allahu Achbar!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

No More Pencils, No More Checks...

Why does the last day of school have dismissals around noon? Whom does that benefit? Why not just give the day off at that point. No one's learning anything and parents can't get any work done that day?

It's not a rhetorical question, I really want to know? Is 10 weeks just not enough vacation?

(Props to Moriah for extending school to the end of the week)

Enjoy summer vacation!


Thursday, June 14, 2012

SACS and the Township, Part 2

The charter school application was written about on both Teaneck Patch and in the Teaneck Suburbanite.  Suburbanite Staff Writer Howard Prosnitz has never hidden his disdain for our community and this article was no exception.  However, he outdoes himself in absurdity when, in this article he states the following:

"In an email to Teaneck Suburbanite, Finger wrote that the 92 students from Teaneck who would be attending Shalom Academy in September could be absorbed into Teaneck public schools with minimal increase, if any, in average class size. He noted that no new teachers would be hired "  

Minimal increase, if any. So there might be no increase in class size and definitely no new teachers hired despite having 92 additional kids.  That  makes a lot of sense.

At the end Prosnitz writes, "Raphael Bachrach, lead founder of Shalom Academy, did not reply to an email by press time."  I hope he holds his breath waiting for that reply.

What caught my eye in the Teaneck Patch article was the statement "State education officials have said they would review Shalom Academy again before July 15 to determine if the school can open in the fall."  That contradicts the email from SACS that I published yesterday that states that approval by Teaneck BOA is " the only thing standing in our way for final charter approval."  Someone has their facts wrong.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

SACS and the City (or Township)

See email below sent out to all parents registered at the Hebrew-immersion Shalom Academy Charter School.  The big mystery is over.  SACS is out of the closet and in the Grace Redemer Church near Ma'ayanot in Teaneck.  They are petitioning the Teaneck Board of Adjustment for a Certificate of Educational use. Good luck to them!  If they can actually pull this off & open next year I will have to admit being completely wrong.  Still it would be nice if they would discuss who the principal is, what the curriculum will be, etc. considering they are planning on opening in less than 3 months.


To Our Parent Body,

Shalom Academy had its preparedness visit with the New Jersey State Department of Education on Friday. The school met all of the preparedness requirements (critical policies, SOPs, Purchase Orders etc.) except for one area: the facility certificates. The County and State have toured and approved the planned facility.

In order to proceed, the Teaneck Board of Adjustment needs to grant the facility a certificate of educational use. The school application is coming up shortly in front of the Board. There is opposition to the application and Shalom Academy needs your support.

PLEASE COME TO THE PROPOSED FACILITY at 125 GALWAY, 2ND FLOOR IN TEANECK, Wednesday, June 13 from 3-4 pm for a letter writing campaign in order to help us with gaining this use. This is a closed meeting for our parents only.

This is the only thing standing in our way for final charter approval.

Thank You,
Shalom Academy Charter School

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Job Opening in Fundraising

Development Directors/Associates have been hired by Moriah, BPY and Noam, and now Yavneh is following suit (see job opening announcement below).  I don't know if anyone has done any study to determine if the additional revenue brought in  by the Development team exceeds the costs of hiring them.  I also don't know if this has anything to  this has anything to do with the funding offered by the UJA-Federation/Avi  Chai Foundation.  As reported in a Jewish Week article, in order to qualify for funding from their program, a school must have “an experienced professional development director who works more than half time for the school on development and has previously managed a successful strategic development campaign.”

Yavneh Academy - ישיבת יבנה
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Yavneh Academy, a modern orthodox yeshiva in Paramus NJ, is seeking to fill the position of Development Associate. This position is part time (20hr/week) and is the first such position at our institution. Projected start date is on or around August 1, 2012.
The associate reports to the Executive Director and the Development Committee. He/she will assist our fundraising programs, developing relationships and creating internal processes.
A detailed job spec is available upon request.
Please send resume and salary requirements to

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Bergen Academies Student Excels in Torah and Science

The Teaneck Suburbanite reports about Joshua Meier, a 16-year old Teaneck resident who became a finalist in the Google Science Fair.  Joshua graduated from Yavneh and now attends Bergen County Academies for High School, a public "magnet school".

According to the article he studies Jewish subjects for 2 hours every day with a tutor.  Not sure how the cost of the tutor compares with Yeshiva but it seems to be paying off.  He won 6th place at the International Chiddon Tanach and 1st place at the International Jerusalem Contest.  He also created an app with the Mishneh Torah on it, or as the Suburbanite calls it, the "Mission of the Torah."

Monday, June 4, 2012

Tuition Across the River

As much as we like to complain about our tuitions, right across the river SAR Academy is actually charging much more.  And it's only 4 minutes from Teaneck if you happen to be a Spine Tailed Swift Bird.  Their website still has the current years tuition on it but nearby Westchester Day School the Goldbergs would be paying $56,750 next year for tuition for their 3 kids, higher than any BC YDS including Solomon Schechter.

Understandably some New York parents have expressed interest in He'atid.  Maybe the BC schools don't have to fear He'atid's growth so much since they will be pulling students from other neighborhoods as well & not just taking their students.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Virtual Charter Tries Again

Hopefully, this time around they won't leave Teaneck with the impression that they will have to foot the entire bill for students that live in all parts of New Jersey.  That misunderstanding generated huge opposition last year.

If it goes through it would be great for He'atid which would be able to get the cost of their secular online education covered by the state.  It could also be an option for people who want to use a public school/Talmud Torah option but are concerned about the influences of non-frum peers in the public schools.

Garden State Virtual Charter School

Dear Friends:

There are many families like yours across New Jersey who are eager to enroll their children in the public school that works best for them.

We would like to give you an update on the status of the Garden State Virtual Charter School (GSVCS), a proposed public charter school that would serve students throughout New Jersey. Those of you receiving this email had shared your information with our prospective partner, Connections Academy, requesting to be notified when this program was available in New Jersey.

As you know, the GSVCS board prepared and submitted an application late last year to open our school in full accordance with existing state laws. While the school was not approved in the January 2012 round,we remain fully committed to offering a high-quality, highly accountable virtual public school alternative. New Jersey has fine public schools of which we can all be proud. But even our great public schools cannot meet the needs of every student.

GSVCS will leverage state-of-the-art digital technology to deliver a high-quality, personalized public education to our students who, for a number of reasons, are not succeeding in a traditional classroom setting—students who are significantly ahead of or behind their peers, students with health issues that cause frequent school absences, or students who simply need a highly personalized approach to learning, to name just a few.

In an effort to answer any questions you may have about the proposed GSVCS, we launched a website in December that is your “one-stop shop” for accurate news, information, and updates:

There you will find detailed information about the school: how it’s structured, its benefits for your children, and much more. We hope you will take time to review this great site. Of course, if there’s anything you would like to see posted, or if you have any other questions, contact us at

In the meantime, here are some steps you can take to make this public virtual school a reality in New Jersey soon:
  • Speak in favor of virtual charter schools during next week’s public testimony at the New Jersey Board of Education meeting (Wednesday, June 6 @ 3 PM, Trenton, NJ). Please email us at if you would like to speak and for further details.
  • Let us know if you would like to help us in our efforts, including serving as a founding parent or a board member. Please email us if you are interested.
  • Send us an email outlining why this new option in public education is appealing to you and your children. (We may post your testimonial online, with your permission.)
  • Share the Garden State Virtual Charter School page with your friends, family members, work colleagues, and other interested New Jerseyans who may be interested in learning more about this new option.
  • Get to know your state legislators and share with them your reasons why this school should be allowed to open.
  • Check us out (and “Like” us) on Facebook.
We hope you are as committed to enrolling in this new public school option as we are to launching it!

In the weeks and months ahead, we will share information and ideas on how you and other families who want an innovative new option in public education can get involved.

We hope you will join us.

The Founding Board of GSVCS and Connections Academy

Connections Academy
1001 Fleet Street, 5th Floor
Baltimore, MD 21202

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