Friday, May 10, 2013

What Exactly is an "Abatement"

Moriah has a tuition abatement program that is separate from its scholarship program.  See link to last year's application here, or summarized after the jump.

Basically it allows middle income earners to get a little off from tuition by showing their tax returns but without having to go through the scholarship process that some find shameful.

To qualify you must have children in yeshiva (not necessarily in Moriah) from Pre-K thru high school and be making under certain amounts as follows:
1 Child & making less than $135K
2 Children & making less than $175K
3 Children & making less than $210K
4 Children & making less than $240K

[UPDATE: Those were last years minimums that are higher this year.  Now you can make up to $270K & get the abatement if you have 4 or more children]

I think the premise of the program is that if they simply lower tuition some of the "wealthy" parents will just pay the lower amount, without making up for it with any significant donations, and they will lose revenue.  If they just raised the threshold for scholarships some of the "middle class" parents would leave rather than have to apply for a scholarship and feel like they are taking tzeddakka.  This way its more of a sliding scale.  Sort of like the progressive income tax system we have where "middle class" families pay less than the wealthy & no one considers that charity.

The question is if you are getting 3K off per child & aren't donating you probably aren't paying your share.  So is that charity or just part of a progressive payment system?

Also, does this system allow those earning money "off-the-books" to get a reduction without any scrutiny beyond looking at their bogus W-2's?  Then again often full scholarship recipients don't get much scrutiny beyond their W-2's which are usually bogus when someone works off-the-books, but that's a separate topic.

One thing I like about the program is that they look at the total number of kids you have in yeshiva, not just the ones at Moriah.  So you don't get "punished" for sending different children to different schools.  All schools should adopt that policy for their scholarship programs.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

RYNJ Tuition Remains (Truly) Flat for 2013/2014

Dear RYNJ Parents,

Baruch Hashem, we are close to completing another very successful year at RYNJ. While it is still a few weeks before our doors close for the summer, the planning for our next school year is well underway.

The Board of Directors has approved the budget for the 2013 – 2014 school year. We extend gratitude to our Finance Committee who worked tirelessly to prepare a budget that is fiscally responsible, recognizes and appreciates our staff’s dedication and maintains our commitment to Torah scholarship and academic excellence, while being sensitive to the hardship that paying for a Yeshiva education may create.

It is with great pleasure that I inform you that once again, tuition at RYNJ will remain flat for the upcoming school year. We are proud to have had no significant increase for the past 6 years and we remain committed to keeping our tuition steady for the foreseeable future.

Incidental and trip fees will once again be absorbed by the Yeshiva and will not be charged to parents.

Projected enrollment for 2013 – 2014 is once again at a record high and will necessitate the hiring of new staff to accommodate our growing student body. We are pleased to be providing our returning staff with a modest pay raise.

We have worked diligently and successfully to maintain our financial stability. While some of our costs have gone up and the Yeshiva has invested in numerous areas including professional development and technology to improve the education that we offer, it is a true credit to our administration and lay leadership that tuition remains steady. When factoring in inflation, it actually amounts to a 2% reduction in tuition for the year.

When I wrote to you at the beginning of this school year, I told you that the growth of our student body brings with it some logistical challenges as we must work to find enough room in the building to serve the needs of our children. I have made it one of the goals of my presidency to do whatever is needed to make certain that we do not have to turn away new families due to space constraints. As you may know, due to the very large number of children that we serve, the scheduling of physical education and indoor recess has become exceedingly difficult. With our children’s health and safety as our primary concern, the Board of Directors has begun to research options to alleviate this issue.

Later this week, we will release our 2nd Annual Report representing our continued effort towards transparency in our financials and the security of our financial future. The report is a tremendous accomplishment for the Yeshiva. I would like to express our gratitude to Shira Isenberg, Glenn Pfeiffer, Adina Wiener, Allen Pfeiffer and Uri Jacobs for all their hard work putting it together.

As guardians of our children and grandchildren's education, we remain committed to ensuring that the Yeshiva's finances remain on solid footing. As always, we are dedicated to providing all RYNJ students with a first class Limudei Kodesh and Limudei Chol education. We strongly believe that every Jewish child deserves a Torah education. If this proves to be a burden to any family we will offer financial assistance to those in need.

I invite and encourage you to contact me with any comments, questions or concerns.

Wishing you a Chag Sameach and continued nachas from all of our children.

Azi Mandel