Friday, June 12, 2009

More on Jersey and Education

Orthonomics has had some reports on what those in NJ are trying to do to solve the tuition problem. Hat tip to one of my daughters who sent me the following from the Teaneck Shuls Digest. It had particular interest to me as a Staten Islander.

Yeshiva Day School for September 2009 - $6,500 tuition
Posted by: "urigutfreund" urigutfreund
Thu Jun 11, 2009 2:15 pm (PDT)

From The Parental Commission for Tuition Reform

There is a group of parents considering sending their children to The Jewish Foundation School of Staten Island for the school year beginning September 2009. Tuition (including all fees and costs) is $6,500. A van will be provided for an additional cost of $2,000 per child for those who desire transportation. The van ride is aproximately 40 minutes.

It is a modern orthodox yeshiva day school with a long 50+ year track record. The school provides an excellent education in both secular and Judaic curriculums with a warm learning environment and an emphasis on Ivrit. The school's graduates perform well on the BJE and commonly go on to the following high schools: TABC, Maayanot, JEC, Bruriah and Yeshiva of Flatbush.

If there are more parents interested, we will arrange another parlor meeting in Teaneck / Bergenfield to meet the principal and learn more about the school. For more information contact Uri Gutfreund at 201-286-3323 or email at uri.gutfreund@ singernelson. com

While we are continuing to build out our High Efficiency Co-operative model for September 2010, there is no guarantee that we will have enough demand initially for older grades.


Anonymous said...

Unlikely this will happen, due to the length of the commute. The Staten Island school is supposedly in dire need of students. A Passaic school that is also in need of students rejects this approach, but I don't know why, since bringing more kids into classrooms that aren't full reduces costs for everyone.

In my experience, the downsides are as follows:

1) long commute
2) lack of school friends nearby -- who wants to travel 30 miles for a classmate's birthday party?
3) commute fatigue often means kids can't keep this up for more than a year or two, so the kid's education is fragmented when they switch back to a local school
4) Therefore, the school can't count on incoming students for the long term, either
5) The cost of busing reduces the tuition differential
6) 40 minutes, my *** (ever heard of traffic?)

It appears to be a survival mechanism. Am I being too blunt?

Anyway, have a nice Shabbos.

ProfK said...


The long commute is what got to my daughter and I also. The Staten Island Expressway has challenged the Long Island Expressway for longest parking lot in the world.

I would imagine though that at least a few parents are going to balance the long commute and being able to breathe financially and may choose the commute.

Re the lack of school friends nearby, I had no choice but to commute my girls to Brooklyn at one point. Yeah, I spent a lot of time ferrying the kids back and forth for after school and social occasions. Of course, not all of our family and friends live in SI either so we are kind of used to the idea of "have car, will travel."

Just a note: the RJJ schools, now Mercaz HaTorah, of which the Foundation school is a member, have always had kids from Jersey in the classes. Some parents chose RJJ because it was the school they wanted, not because it was the closest school.

Anonymous said...

My family lives (for many of us, lived) in Staten Island. My sisters and I commuted to Brooklyn for school, my sisters to Shulamit (in Boro Park), and me to Etz Chaim (in Boro Park). Later on my sisters commuted to Yeshiva of Flatbush, and I lived in the dorm at MTA (and came home almost every Shabbat). My much younger brother went to JFS, and later commuted to Yeshiva of Flatbush. We all commuted for many years and seem to have managed. It's not fun, but sometimes it's part of life.

Maybe now that everyone (really everyone, including husband and wife, and any kid over 18-19) has a car and the freedom that comes with that, we are all spoiled. 30-40 years ago when almost everyone commuted on public transportation, none of this was a big deal at all. When I went to college, I commuted above ground, on the water, and underground twice each day - bus/ferry/subway.


Lon said...

yeah - what ever happened to running ten miles to school through the snow uphill both ways? If kids can run 40 minutes to school year after year in Kenya, I guess they can sit in a van for 50 minutes for the duration of elementary school. Fatigue isn't the problem.

And friends - what about the other kids in the van? They'll be spending loads of quality time together.

Dunno if I'd actually choose that for my kids, but it's certainly feasible.

Lion of Zion said...

when i was in flatbush there was an entire busload of kids (in the high school) who commuted from staten island (also a van from new jersey). a commute is not the worst thing. how about a bus to jfs from brooklyn? but the truth is it depends what age. i don't think i want my 5-year-old on a bus for 2 hours every day.

ProfK said...

The ride is much shorter from Brooklyn to SI than it is from Teaneck to SI. For one thing, the hours the bus would be going the traffic is lighter the direction the bus would be heading. Wouldn't be the first time that bussing took place from Brooklyn to SI. YTT high school was out here and the majority of the students came in from Brooklyn.

We'll welcome you with open arms.

ProfK said...


There are any number of parents in the NYC area who already face relatively long commutes for their kids because the closest school to where they are living is not the desired school or the right school for a particular child. This is particularly true for high school students.

Those MO who live in Brooklyn, a Brooklyn that has been barreling to the right, are finding themselves with fewer and fewer choices where to send their kids locally. You do what you can or what you have to to get your kids the type of education you want for them. If you can't move then commuting becomes an option.

Anonymous said...

ProfK, I agree with your last comment. My personal philosophy has been to keep elementary kids as close to home as possible, even if the school is not perfect. Of course, I would try to avoid a situation where the hashkafa was very different from our own practice. For high school, it's a whole other story. The Bais Yaakov of Passaic doesn't meet my kids' needs either educationally or religiously. We're big fans of Bruriah, which is about 15 miles away.

Little kids worn out by a long commute aren't going to have much ability to focus on homework, and they'll need to go to bed early to wake up for that early bus. High schoolers, as I'm sure you remember, never go to bed early no matter what time they have to get up.

ELK said...

As a Staten Islander whose family is very involved with both schools, JFS and RJJ/Merkaz HaTorah, this is very interesting news.

There already is a Brooklyn Bus/Van to JFS in Staten Island. The commute is not terrible as they are going against the traffic, as you mentioned. The school has had a little bit of trouble with the Brooklyn kids as they've found that these kids have 'made their rounds' within the schools in Brooklyn - why would they shlep out to SI when there are TONS of schools in Brooklyn? JFS does offer a cheaper tuition rate to Brooklyners.

Teaneck's YNJ, from what I hear, is an incredible school but has very expensive tuition. The cheaper tuition in JFS along with the similar hashkafos may be enough to outweigh the con of traffic/commute.