As most observers have known for some time, day school affordability is the preeminent subject on the agenda of many North American Jewish communities, as it is in the GTA. From time to time, we have used this space to feature articles and discussion pieces from other jurisdictions on the subject. We begin 2020 by drawing attention to a recent op-ed by Dror Futter entitled When Dreams Meet Reality that appeared last week in the Jewish Link (of New Jersey). Futter is a day school activist and father of three alumni of Bergen County day schools.
“Although not perfect, I strongly believe the day schools are the crown jewels of our community and the key to both who we are as a community and our continued growth, Futter wrote. “Everyone talks about the ‘tuition crisis’ in the same resigned tones normally reserved for discussions about the weather. What we have now is not a crisis, it is a chronic condition that imposes a great deal of hardship and which we have done little to improve. However, in the next downturn, this situation could quickly morph into a full-blown crisis. To be clear, it was only because of the relatively quick economic upturn in 2010 that our day school system survived intact.”
Borrowing upon biblical Joseph’s wisdom, Futter calls for a centralized mechanism in his area to facilitate a comprehensive plan “to weather the next economic downturn” and put the day schools on a firm financial footing. He then offers recommendations for the mission and composition of such a planning body.
Thankfully, UJA Federation of Greater Toronto and CIJA are already engaged in the very planning that Futter urges. But there is also a responsibility that falls on the rest of the community and work for us to do as a result.
GAJE sees part of its work in this regard to use the legal system to help bring about a change in Ontario’s funding polices toward independent schools.
Our hope is that this year will bring us closer to our goal. We have begun the process of raising funds to underwrite the lawsuit.