Sad and worrisome

Earlier this week, the Board of Directors of Associated Hebrew Schools announced it would consolidate its educational structure from its current three-campus network into two campuses. Beginning with the 2019/20 school year, the Kamin branch (on Atkinson Avenue in Thornhill) will move to the Hurwich Education Centre on Finch Avenue, where it will be housed alongside the Danilack Middle School.

In light of the announcement last spring about the future of the AHS branch on Atkinson Avenue, this week’s announcement did not come as a total surprise or even as a partially immobilizing shock.

But it hurt nevertheless.

The AHS board stated that it has tried to maintain a school north of Steeles Avenue but that under current circumstances and enrolment projections, it would not be fiscally responsible and strategically sound to maintain the Atkinson campus. Consolidation into two campuses, the board believes, is the school’s best option.

The decision effectively means that in two years, there will be one fewer Jewish day school – and no high school – to serve the third largest Jewish community in Canada – namely, the Jews north of Steeles Avenue, in Thornhill, Richmond Hill and Vaughan.

How sad.

How worrisome for the future of the Jewish vibrancy and strength in Greater Toronto.

Affordable tuition is not the only way to strengthen the Jewish educational system. But it is assuredly the starting point.

The community that does not see this, understand this, and urgently implement meaningful tuition reduction programs, essentially authors its own organizational, activist, cultural demise in an ever more quickly approaching future.

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Every Kid Counts: Let us convince the government of Ontario

David Zarnett, Executive Director of Every Kid Counts is seeking more individuals from our community to join their lobbying effort.

Every Kid Counts was launched by a group of parents and families to try to change Ontario’s unfair, unequal, and unjust funding policies of paying for health support services for some but not all of Ontario’s children who try to cope with behavioural, communication, intellectual or physical disabilities in school.

Ontario prefers to fund health support services according to the school attended by the child rather than by the educational needs of the disabled child.

More than 3000 individuals have signed the petition calling on Ontario to ensure that, indeed, every kid counts. But this number is not sufficient to influence government policy. Zarnett urges members of the community to ask three friends or family members to sign the petition. To do so, please visit the campaign website: www.everykidcounts.ca

We support Every Kid Counts. Please sign the petition.

•••

Shabbat Shalom.

GAJE

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