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Sunday, August 12, 2012

"The deficit has proven too large"

News of another (Lakewood) school closing is not particular surprising, but nonetheless jarring.  As a parent, my heart really goes out to these parents who are without a school for their sons just weeks away from the start of school.  If any of the boys like other children I just happen to know, the transition into an unknown environment, once that environment becomes known, will be all the more trying.

A common thread with school closings is the amount of debt being carried and the push to keep the school alive.  What might be helpful in light of the numerous closings and near closings is to study the patterns and begin to define at what point (barring an outright miracle) the health of a yeshiva is permanently compromised and rather than trying to "keep the yeshiva's dream alive" is becomes the right thing to alter the dream.


12 comments:

Adam Zur said...
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Mark said...

One of the ways that has been suggested to cut overall costs of yeshiva is consolidation. Maybe that's exactly what we are seeing here - consolidation. A small school of 150 students is "closing" and those 150 students will be absorbed by other, stronger, and larger schools. The savings will be one fewer building, and a few fewer administrators, plus some incidentals.

Orthonomics said...

I believe in consolidation. In fact, places like Lakewood should really have a district where applications are taken centrally and students are placed in a manageable infrastructure. But announcing random closings weeks before school. ....difficult for parents, students, and other schools alike.

Anonymous said...

Orthonomics,

The religious and cultural differences between Orthodox Jew in Lakewood makes a central system for taking applications unworkable.



AztecQueen2000 said...

You can't have everything. What we want is a small school, where everyone has the same hashkafa, that provides special services, free busing and meals, a curriculum as free as possible from the taint of secular studies (since NJ doesn't regulate education the way NY does, at least they're not breaking the law) and as low a tuition as possible. If the government could pick up the tab for the secular education, that would be perfect. However, as too many are learning, you can't have everything.
And as for community funding--I wouldn't give a dime to a school that thinks my kids aren't good enough. Either the schools are community resources or they're not.

Miami Al said...

Well, large debt also means that the students received far more service than was paid for. Of course people liked that school, who doesn't like to get $1.20 of service for $1.00? That's way better than paying $1.40 for that same service the next year (a 40% hike) to pay off the debts from the prior year.

All organizations that go bankrupt have large debts, that's the state of bankruptcy, inability to service debts.

Of course the beneficiaries of that debt want to keep going, it's free service for them.

In any competitive market for students, the school that offers the most "service/dollar" is going to win the student... you'll rationalize it with frummy/Yiddish terms, but it's all about, where do I get the most utility for my dollars deployed.

Narrow hashkafa is one what to offer more utility on the cheap.

Deficit spending is another.

Avi Greengart said...

What I find amazing is the total lack of economic understanding in the comments on the LakewoodScoop board. Several are suggesting that "Rav so and so take over," there are lots of calls for teshuva of one kind or another (or aliya), and some random political bashing, but nobody is suggesting anything that would materially improve the finances of the school. (Actually, that's not true - there was one commenter who suggested that we stop fundraising for schools for sick/special needs children and focus on funding "regular" kids. While abhorrent, it was at least on point.)

Anonymous said...

@Avi: An economic abyss is straight ahead for large segments of the Orthodox community (as well as other communities). You should hear about all the illogical financial schemes my Orthodox relatives do.

aaron from L.A. said...

I read the Lakewood board and agree with Avi Greengart.Lots of these people are running around like chickens without heads and just have no clue...And I thought Talmudic learning sharpened the mind.

CJ Srullowitz said...

@Avi and aaron from LA

The best minds in Lakewood are in the Beis Medrash, not commenting on articles in the Lakewood Scoop.

Anonymous said...

If the best minds are in the beis medrash instead of in the workforce it's no wonder all the mosdos are going bankrupt.

BaltimoreYid said...

Nothing from nothing leaves nothing. Apologies to the late Billy Preston.