Bare Faced Educational Cheek!

A buddy of mine withdrew his child from Jewish Day School in FarOffState recently and enrolled her in the local public school. He had paid tuition in full for the school year of 2010 / 2011. He was informed that because he has taken his child out EARLY he is to pay an additional 30% of tuition as an early withdrawal penalty. He is outraged, as am I. Instead of working with the parents to figure out why the child was withdrawn from the school and what they could have done to prevent the parental dissatisfaction, they just slapped on another fee. Granted, I am only hearing one side of the story – but something smells very fishy.

Here follows the back story as written by the dad. Various details have been changed to protect identities.

Sara who is almost 6, was put in the 4 year olds class because she didn’t attend a pre-school – she stayed home with her mom. At almost 6 Sara is reading words, doing arithmetic, and has even learned the concepts of multiplication ON HER OWN. (When Sara told me 3 3′s were nine, I asked her teacher if they were doing Math in school, and she said no).

Basically Sara being nearly 6 was bored. We also noticed her behavior at home started to REGRESS to that of her 4 year old school peers. (Lots of whining when she didn’t get her way)

Although her teacher at our last Parent / teacher conference confirmed that she is well ahead of the class in all areas (Both Academically & Socially) she felt it would be best if she went into Kindergarten rather then 1st grade.

The kid is amazing… She can pick words out of a Sefer (both English & Hebrew). She can sound out words. She was playing a video game the other day and my wife gave her a 10 digit alpha numeric “cheat code” which she remembered after only being told once.

In addition to the academics the school fails to provide for my daughter, we simply can not afford the tuition. Our tuition went up 40%. With the increase in tuition I was given a letter that I could be eligible for 10% off.  When they called me to find out why I didn’t pay the $300 registration fee for next year, and to remind me that at the end of the week the fee goes up to $600, I told them with the 40% increase in tuition I could not afford to send my child to school there.

Sight unseen they dropped the rate to 50%. Again I told them I could not afford tuition and then they said they could probably get me 70-75% off. They also did inform me that they could not get me a full scholarship.

I don’t know. The trickery involved with the games they play with tuition (At the start of this year they would not entertain giving me ANY reduction in tuition), doesn’t seem very Torah-like.

Sadly my wife and I feel that our daughter can get a better education in public school. Both academically, and in regards to Torah Middos (Which her former school seemed very lacking in).

So of course my buddy is refusing to send them a cheque for 30% of tuition – that’s thousands of dollars!!, and is prepared to fight.

*Please note. This behaviour is not indicative of all Jewish Day Schools, and I am hopeful that it only applies to the school in question. This is not a post to bash Jewish Day Schools – just to help advise my buddy on where to go from here. I mean, what do you do when the school doesn’t hear nor care about your concerns? Are we not supposed to advocate for our kids? What are you supposed to do when there is only one Jewish Day School in the area, and you want your child to be educated Jewishly but they are not providing the right education for your child? And the whole tuition issue? What is up with that? Would you pay this withdrawal fee? Would you fight it?

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  1. BB says:

    What does the tuition contract say? That should be the starting point I think. It’ll tell your friend if there’s a basis to ignore the 30% charge- or not. If a clause for the 30% is in there, then he might have trouble with the school. maybe can defend it on grounds the school failed to educate his daughter at her proper level or something. Wondering though- why did your friend let the school put the daughter in a class with children 2 years younger than she was? And now school year is nearly over, no?

  2. HSaboMilner says:

    “why did your friend let the school put the daughter in a class with children 2 years younger than she was? ”

    Because the choice given was put her in with the younger kids or she would not be accepted to the school at all. And he wanted her to have a Torah education and this was the only option for such an education where they live.

  3. batya from NJ says:

    It doesn’t make sense that the school would charge a 30% early termination fee for the family to take their kid out of the school b/f the end of the school yr especially if they have already paid their tuition dues for this academic year. Yeshiva tuition is not a cellphone contract-this just does NOT make any sense!!! It’s one thing if your friend wanted to stop the last month of tuition payments. I would understand that the school might not appreciate that since they had already reserved a seat for the whole year for the child but it just doesn’t make sense to me that they would demand a 30% early termination fee & they probably have no recourse to do that unless it is so stipulated in the contract (as someone mentioned above) which I would highly doubt. I’m sure your friend can fight this one out & possibly take the school to a din torah if need be.

  4. Mark says:

    Tell her to call the school and say that her child is sick and can’t come to school. Do that twice a week for the next month and a half.

    Alternatively, call the school and tell them to sod off.

  5. Batya says:

    They should threaten to sue the school for incompetant placement. The idea that all students must be there a certain number of years, rather than according to age/ability is outrageous.

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