The Zionist Conspiracy
Wednesday, March 08, 2006
A Parent's Perspective On Yeshiva Tuitions
The following thoughts were sent to me by a parent of children in charedi yeshivas:
Having three kids in Yeshivas/Bais Yaakovs, having spoken in detail about this to a Yeshivah principal, having a brother in chinuch and a father on the board of directors of a school (board members are NOT compensated and are the first to be approached when the yeshivah is short of funds) I have had some exposure to this issue and note the following:
1. The notion of an administrator making $250K in a charedi yeshivah is, I suspect, non-existent. I do, however, believe that many of the larger schools would be better off financially if they did hire an administrator who was capable enough to command that salary.
2. I am aware of charedi yeshivas where rabeim are making between 29 thousand and close to 70 thousand (the 29k figure is current and includes rabeim with over 20 years experience, the close to 70 figure is about two years old and if I recall correct was closer to 60 at that time and was the maximum paid by that school to rabeim with some base level of seniority). I don't know about chasidishe yeshivas, but I understand that in many of these you are lucky if you get paid at all - forget about on time. Also, my understanding is that in the chasidshe yeshivas due to the fact that many student don't pay full tuition (for obvious reasons) services are non-existent (forget about special ed).
3. In my view, any Rebbe who works 9-3 should be fired. None of my kids' rebeim (my oldest is 11 so I went through quite a number) worked 9-3. 9-3 was the time they spend in class. They also had to prepare and mark exams accept calls from and make calls to parents. I've spoken to my kids' rabeim at all hours of the night. They don't earn anywhere near the 70k noted above (though my kids' school pays well above the 29k). My kids' school is considered one of the better paying schools I think and has one of the better facilities and services (e.g. special ed - don't recall the costs of special ed but my understanding is that they can at times be astronomical on a per student basis and which most often is not covered by the student receiving the service). Every rebbe I know struggles to make ends meet, is probably capable of making more by taking any 9-5 menial job and is in the "business" for ideological reasons (not for the free ride). Many I know work two jobs - either teaching in the afternoon or tutoring - then prepare, mark tests and make/return phone calls in the evening.
4. I pay a little over $5,500 per year for each son (not including dinner). Having been through the expenses, actual cost per student to the school for bare essentials (i.e. facilities and salaries) is approximately $1,000 more (assuming everyone pays full tuition). If I recall correctly this does not cover non-essentials which I will define as special ed needs, outside consultants to evaluate and train rebeim and teachers (defined as a non-essential for this purpose only, but is I believe essential), etc. Yeshivas could easily spend between 10-15 thousand per student without spending on anything extravagant.
5. Don't know what the principal makes, but I can tell you he puts in as many hours as I do (which as you know is quite substantial).
I don't want to paint the greatest picture about yeshivas. I have my share of complaints, most notably secular education. But people making some of the comments made in response to your blog - e.g. $250k salaries or references to the rebbe position being a cushy part-time job - to the extent they are referring to charedi yeshivas, obviously have their heads buried so far up . . . (feel free to complete the sentence as you see fit).