‘How to prioritize positive experiences’
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‘How to prioritize positive experiences’

Your Feb. 25 article “Scholarships v. Camps” confuses the real issue that is presented by the day-school scholarship guidelines. The issue is not how to prioritize different positive Jewish experiences; rather, the issue is who should pay for these experiences. As none of the local day schools have endowments or investments that are used to fund scholarships, a financial “scholarship” is in reality a discount on the cost of a child’s education that is funded by the school from current income (tuition payments or donations). If a school offers such a discount that enables a family to send a child to a summer program, then the full-tuition paying parents of that school, together with the small group of other donors to that school, are in effect subsidizing the cost of that summer program. It is one thing for school parents and donors to subsidize the cost of providing the school’s educational product for families that, without this subsidy, would not be able to meet their basic costs of living, but quite another to subsidize discretionary family expenses, as valuable as they may be. If the summer programs are deemed by the community to be an indispensable part of the religious development of our children, then the community should raise funds to subsidize the cost of those programs. The high schools that sent the letters do not benefit from NNJKIDS or any other communal program, and have never received any significant financial support from the community at large. In the absence of such support, they struggle each year to raise the funds necessary to provide the excellent education that the community demands, while also providing for those families that truly cannot afford the cost of that education. If and when broad communal and philanthropic support for these schools were forthcoming, then a conversation could be had about larger communal goals.

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