For the week ending 18 November 2006 / 27 Heshvan 5767

The Tuition Squeeze and Squeaks

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
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Question: As the financial officer of my local Jewish Day School I am in charge of collecting tuition fees from parents of pupils. Because of the extreme difficulties of maintaining a balanced budget our Tuition Committee takes a very tough stand with parents who are reluctant to pay the amount demanded of them. A good friend of mine recently asked me to use my influence in getting the Committee to give him a break. I am aware that he is capable of paying full fees but wishes to save some money. What is the right thing to do?

Answer: Much has been written and discussed concerning the “tuition squeeze” which pits parents against tuition committees. In general, the committees, which consist of serious laymen who devote time and energy to help keep the school afloat, do show consideration to parents who truly cannot afford the fees. Their battle is with those parents, like your friend, who have other ideas about where to spend their money and do not accord a high priority to paying for their child’s education.

Try to explain to your friend how difficult it is for the school to effectively serve his child if parents like him do not do their part to the best of their ability. Remind him as well that our Sages promise that whatever he spends on his child’s Torah education will not really cost him anything in the end.

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