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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Westchester Day School LOWERS Tuition

I wish I could report news like this every day. As per the Jewish Week Article, Day School Parents Now Getting Some Tuition Relief, it is being reported that Westchester Day School has implemented some targeted tuition decreases for grades K-3, ranging from $500 to $1,600 in an effort to attract and retain students.

The tone of the article is that tuition increases are inevitable in the future, however, because certain expenses will continue to go up, namely scholarships and health insurance costs. Scholarships has been beat to death. My personal opinion is that scholarships should mostly be handled by an organization set up for that purpose, rather than each individual school. At the very least, it shouldn't be each school for itself. Better to have a huge banquet than a bunch of smaller banquets. But the current mode of operation is for tuition and fundraising to absorb these costs. I believe that the sticker shock we have experienced in regards to 2010/2011 tuition is based mostly on increased tuition discounts being granted (but I don't have enough information to make that determination). My eyes are still bugging out!

As for health insurance costs, I'd like any teachers/administrators who read my blog to help inform readership if co-pays have increased yearly. I think most in private industry have seen their own insurance burden rise. I don't know if this is the case in schools. It is important to recognize that indeed pay has been increased for staff if the school absorbs the increases.

22 comments:

tesyaa said...

Good for Westchester Day! Yay!

Anonymous said...

i am going to guess that not one BC school follows their example. last year rynj cleverly stated that they did not raise tuition as they increased the building fund by $2,000. from $6,000 to $8,000.

Anonymous said...

Are you sure that all schools provide health insurance? Here in Baltimore, most of the schools DO NOT

Selena said...

I work for a private company, and our premiums went up 40% this year. So although are employees are paying more, so is the company, by a large margin. Over the past 3 years, our health insurance costs have gone up by about 65%... I can't imagine the schools are any different. In order to have a group, the employer has to pay at least 1/2 of the premium...

Honestly Frum said...

This is a good sign that at least one school gets it. I am going to post on this tomorrow hopefully.

JLan said...

"Are you sure that all schools provide health insurance? Here in Baltimore, most of the schools DO NOT"

Most (all?) of the MO schools in the NY area do. I don't believe it carries over for chareidi schools, though.

Selena- the school that I work at has open enrollment in January, and was offered the following from its previous insurer for 2010: a 49% increase in premiums. No other insurer wanted to take it on. This is in part because we've now passed 150 insured parties, which means that the rate is based partially on actual useage, which is apparently much higher for us than average. We ended up going with the following option instead:

a) Self-funded
b) For a lesser plan (with a higher hospital copay and a much higher out of network deductible and coinsurance), 18% increase (with the school's proportion remaining the same, i.e., the school paying more actual money than before).
c) For an equivalent plan to 2009, a 28% increase, but the school only picks up the the same amount of actual dollars as for the lesser plan (so the teacher pays more out of pocket).

tesyaa said...

which means that the rate is based partially on actual useage, which is apparently much higher for us than average.

I'd guess this might be due to the large family size and many maternity benefits this population incurs?

tesyaa said...

i am going to guess that not one BC school follows their example.

WDS is probably more modern than most, if not all, of the BC yeshivas, so the BC yeshivas probably don't see much of a comparison. No need to follow the lead of an organization that doesn't even serve the same clientele.

Sima said...

To my knowledge, not one right-wing yeshiva or bais yakov school in the NY area provides health insurance. At one school where I was employed, a group insurance rate existed which some teachers took advantage of, but only the ones who had no alternative, as the premiums were still quite high and the insurance dreadful. As far as I can see today, if a teacher is getting paid on time (more or less) in one of these schools, he or she considers him/herself fortunate, as this is by no means the norm.

tesyaa said...

As far as I can see today, if a teacher is getting paid on time (more or less) in one of these schools, he or she considers him/herself fortunate, as this is by no means the norm.

I can't understand why anyone would take such a job. So sad.

JLan said...

"I'd guess this might be due to the large family size and many maternity benefits this population incurs?"

Probably, but you can't actually get that information (the insurers can get it, the group, ironically, doesn't have access to it).

The hope is that since we're self-funding now that we can stem the tide of massive insurance increases, as the plan's administrator really doesn't have much profit incentive in the way a traditional insurance company does; they also have every incentive to get us to set our initial premiums at something that will be more stable, since then we'll be more likely to stick with them. The school is carrying insurance against massive cost overruns (like might be caused by several people getting transplants at once, or something along those lines), but there is some element of uncertainty for the school.

LeahGG said...

tesyaa said...

" As far as I can see today, if a teacher is getting paid on time (more or less) in one of these schools, he or she considers him/herself fortunate, as this is by no means the norm."

I can't understand why anyone would take such a job. So sad.


because most of them aren't qualified enough to get better jobs.

ProfK said...

No, many of the RW/Chareidi schools do not offer health insurance. That does not mean that all of their staff is uninsured. We are forgetting that if two spouses are working they won't both take the insurance plans offered by both jobs, only one of them. My husband's plan is better than any plan I have ever been offered so I'm covered under his plan instead of the reverse.

" can't understand why anyone would take such a job. So sad.

because most of them aren't qualified enough to get better jobs."

Let's be ware of mass generalizations. There are plenty of those teaching in the RW schools who are qualified to get better jobs, particularly among the older teachers. Some of those teachers are double dipping--work at less RW schools (or public schools) and also teaching in the RW schools. Some also work at jobs outside of teaching and then teach some classes for the yeshiva system.

Sure, there are some unqualified teachers in these schools--as opposed to each and every MO school which hires only the cream of the crop? And you also have to factor in the elementary versus high school situation. What applies to one may not apply to the other, certainly not across the board.

The situation is bad enough without turning it into a left/right divide based on hasty generalizations.

Sima said...

Not qualified enough to get other jobs? Perhaps some; I've met a few. However, let me suggest another reason -- to be mechanech children. Many of the teachers and rebbeim I've known were superlative in every way, and could have held their own in practically any profession. However, they do what they do because they have a talent and (may I say it?) a calling, and they know that if they don't step up to the plate, a far less dedicated and able person will take their place. All parents who send their children to RW schools and have met these exemplary individuals should be aware that in many cases these teachers are sacrificing to educate this next generation. Go ahead, bash them if you wish. Yes, I've known some to throw in the towel and go into another field b/c they really couldn't make it anymore, but always with regrets and guilty feelings.

efrex said...

LeahGG:

I am far from an apologist for the Yeshiva educational system, but your comment bears no resemblance to my experience. I, my brother, my sister, and four cousins all had 12+ years of yeshiva education, and I can only think of two teachers who were there because they probably couldn't do anything else. My experience, overwhelmingly, was of people donating their time to the community (as ProfK noted, public school teachers who were moonlighting on the side), or, as Sima noted, people who made incredible sacrifices to fulfill their calling. I may not share the hashkafa of my Rebbeim, but I will never cease to be amazed by their mesirat nefesh. In my experience, a mediocre teacher works twice as hard as a mediocre white-collar worker and for half the pay. I have many problems with the economic and social philosophy of the yeshiva system, but the dedication and self-sacrifice of its adherents is not to be slandered.

Orthonomics said...

I agree. Not a fair generalization.

LeahGG said...

I apologize, but I've seen both in RW and in Solomon Schechter schools (I've attended both) that they hire "teachers" who have very low qualifications of a sort that would never allow them to be hired in school that had to answer to a real school board.

This may not be true in all schools or of all teachers, but I've seen people post on this blog that women who have no more qualification than one year at a seminary are teaching at some schools...

If that's their situation, it's fairly clear why they don't change jobs.

Rochel said...

Thank you Sima for your fine explanation of right wing yeshiva teachers and rebbeim. Rebbeim and teachers are in my experience very idealistic and have a talent for teaching. The reason they stay in a job that may not pay on time and then very little is first, they have a feeling for children, teaching is their first choice of profession, and second, they are married to wives who are unmaterialistic and who put religious convictions first and foremost. Rebbeim in Baltimore are the cream of the crop, the most dedicated, the most talented, believe it or not. There is so much competition for these teaching spots in Baltimore that young men who want to enter teaching have to work in the minor leagues for a number of years because Baltimore will only take experienced rebbeim. Minor leagues means a smaller (more modern!) community an airplane ride away. The established, experienced rebbeim make ends meet by tutoring students and bar mitzvah lessons. They work long hours to support their families this way. They live very modestly. So many of the commenters on Orthonomics that I have seen over time have absolutely no personal knowledge of frum people, no understanding of people who are motivated by ideals rather than by monetary concerns, and comments like why do they work there - they couldn't find another job - are proof of that. Many of you have a blinkered perspective.

Lion of Zion said...

TESYAA:

"I can't understand why anyone would take such a job"

1) they can't do anything else. i'm not sure why everyone above is getting so offended by this. it doesn't mean they're stupid, unmotivated, untalented, not dedicated or bad teachers. it means that communal expecations and educational backgrounds/opporutnities severely restrict what fields they can go into.
2) because of point #1, rebbes/morahs are a dime a dozen. again, this is not meant as an insult. there are simply too many kollel/sem grads with no job skills (not that i think kollel is preparation for being a teacher). rochel just testified that where she lives there is intense competition for these jobs. so naturally employers have the upper hand when the market is saturated. welcome to econ 101 (but not ethics 101).
3) some morahs don't plan on making a career out of teaching. it's just something to do for a few years. so they ride it out.
4) the monthly anguish of late paychecks may be offset by the various fringe benefits of working for a jewish school (tuition reduction where applicable, summers off, early fridays to cook, jewish calendar so no day care headaches, etc.)

Lion of Zion said...

in any case, one thing the RW has over the MO is the respect it has for those who go into education.

EFREX:

"In my experience, a mediocre teacher works twice as hard as a mediocre white-collar worker and for half the pay."

i'm not sure how to compare who works "harder" (the grass is always greener thing), but half the pay? which average white collar workers do you have in mind? how much do you think (i have no idea) the average yeshivah teacher makes per hour vs. the average white color worker.

Lion of Zion said...

"if a teacher is getting paid on time (more or less) in one of these schools, he or she considers him/herself fortunate, as this is by no means the norm"

i don't have too many good things to say about satmar, but when i taught in a satmar school i was *never* paid even one day late


PROFK:

you mean moonlighting, not double dipping

Mark said...

tesyaa - WDS is probably more modern than most, if not all, of the BC yeshivas, so the BC yeshivas probably don't see much of a comparison. No need to follow the lead of an organization that doesn't even serve the same clientele.

Only "modern" schools lower tuition? :-)