Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Modernize Bergen County

Here's something that hopefully most of us can agree on.  As BC MO's we are already suffering under both high property taxes and high tuition costs.  One thing that could make life a little easier for us is having Sundays available to shop without having to trek to neighboring counties.

I don't want to rehash all of the arguments for and against the blue laws.  They have already been argued ad nauseam here and here and here.

I'm just asking for those who agree that the blue laws should be rescinded to please sign & mail in the petition so we can get it a referendum on it for the November election.  We are low on signatures and need more help!  They need to be received by June 30th so please make sure it's in the mail by next Wednesday (6/25).  Petition can be found here.

Please mail it in to:

Modernize Bergen County
P.O. Box 1247
Hackensack, NJ 07602

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


North Jersey Jewish News just published an article about CNJKIDS, which is Central Jersey's answer to NNJKIDS.  I emailed CNJKIDS with a few questions & here is their response:

Thanks for the e-mail.

This is CNJKIDS' first year as an organization.  Our plan is to distribute the funds raised over 2013 - 2014 to the schools partnering with CNJKIDS at the end of the next school year in 2014.

From the FAQS section of the website

How will the dollars be divided among schools? CNJKIDS will aim to help every student in their respective schools by limiting future tuition increases as follows. Each of the schools that have agreed to partner with CNJKIDS will inform CNJKIDS of the tuition it has set for the coming year based on its needs.  CNJKIDS will then divide its annual income from general contributions among the schools on a per-capita basis. Earmarked donations will then be distributed to specific schools.  

How will the dollars be credited to day school families? After CNJKIDS distributes the funding to the participating schools, each school will then provide a credit on the following year’s tuition bill of each of its students (i.e. if $100 was provided by CNJKIDS to each school, a $100 credit would appear on each student’s tuition bill the following year). Thus, each school may use the money it receives toward its budget for the following school year (i.e. any money schools receive in 2014 may be used for their 2015-2016 school year budgets).

Friday, June 14, 2013

Kindergarten Graduation

For those who were so concerned, the He'atid Parent Association set up a graduation party for the Kindergarteners next Friday.

Congratulations to the graduates!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

RYNJ Report 2013

Once again, RYNJ has produced a thorough report showing its finances, budget, etc.  Moriah did a similar report for 2012.  More on that one another day. I hope all the schools follow suit so we can have an intelligent discussion about school budgets will all of the information being transparent.  

Some interesting things I noticed in YNJ's report:

1. The school continues to grow despite the new competition so maybe the panic of a 6th JDS in BC was a bit overblown

2. The "baked-in" tuition is only $200, according to page 18.  This is down from $300 last year.  Of course this doesn't include what they called "bad debt" (see page 21).  I believe this is what they called "delayed tuition payments" last year, because I don't see anything about "delayed tuition payments" this year.  They had $300,000 for that figure last year and now they have $30,000 for "bad debt" but I think that might be a typo if they are indeed the same thing.  Hard to imaging that it could have changed by 90% in 1 year.  Also hard to imagine that in a school of over a thousand students there is only the equivalent of two tuition payments that were not made as required.

3. While small donations have gone down this year, large donations have gone up and it has resulted in an overall increase in voluntary donations that is not insignificant.  This tells me that the majority of money raised comes from the top echelon and that as the economy improves so does their disposable income.  

4. It was nice to see this comment in the summary: "Our goal is to continue to ensure we provide excellence in all aspects of our Yeshiva without increasing tuition obligations for the foreseeable future."  If that is indeed their goal, the increased fundraising will continue to offset inflationary cost increases to keep tuition flat, rather than being used to add staff, programs, capital improvements, etc.

Monday, June 10, 2013

School Ending on Time

Back in November we speculated on whether or not the local schools would add days to the school year to make up for days lost because of Superstorm Sandy. Not surprisingly, none of them did.  They eliminated teacher training day (which should be eliminated permanently), but they did not add any days in June.

In fact, He'atid just announced that they are eliminating school on June 21st which was supposed to be the last day & are now ending school on June 20th, "in order to provide our faculty and staff the much needed time to properly end the school year."

Here are the dates of the last day of school for the 6 Orthodox JDS's in BC:

BPY - June 20
He'atid - June 20
Moriah (preschool) - June 20
Moriah grades 1-7 - June 21
Noam - June 19
RYNJ - June 20
Yavneh - June 19

P.S. When school ends at 11:30 it really shouldn't count as a day. For most families with 2 working parents it makes things harder than if school were just canceled altogether.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

So you think you can dance? (I don't)

Most of you have heard about the IRS being under fire for wasting taxpayer dollars on a silly video of employees line dancing at a company conference.

It kind of reminded me of this:
and this 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

What are we voting for exactly?

The OU had a major voter push for the election yesterday but didn't state publicly whom they were endorsing or why.  I didn't wan't to say anything until after the primary election because i didn't want to undermine their efforts but now that the elections are over I'd like them to explain.  They pushed for all schools and shuls in the area to vote so there must be something going on that they should share with the community.

In District 37, which includes Teaneck, Englewood and Tenafly the only election that had more than one contender was the democratic primary for governor, which was pretty much a foregone conclusion.   In fact Barbara Buono won by 76 points.  And whoever wins is going to get destroyed by Christie anyway in the general election.

Perhaps their push was in District 38, which includes Bergenfield, Fair Lawn and Paramus where there was a close call for state senate.

If one of the two candidates has a strong position on school vouchers or anything else that affects our community it's important that we know about it.  Especially since that would affect out turnout in the general election in November.

If the reason for the silence is that they are concerned about their tax exempt status by being involved in politics we all know that is not true.  Tea Party groups & others are doing almost nothing besides politics and they still got to keep tax exempt status despite extensive scrutiny by the IRS.

One of the letters from a school or a shul said that we should vote simply to show elected officials that we vote in large numbers.  This seems like a very strange reason since we have closed ballots & no one will know in what percentage our community voted.

I applaud the OU's efforts to push for legislative solutions to work in tandem with other solutions (austerity, communal fundraising, etc) to solve the tuition crisis, but I wish they would be a little clear on whom they are endorsing and why.