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Op-Ed: Tuition Sticker Shock

by Anonymous Parent

Here we are again, schools begin. It’s that time of the year when you’ve hopefully paid (or at least made arrangements for) tuition so your child can begin a new year of learning and growing.

Behind you are the days of negotiations. The back and forth of tuition and the discount for early enrollment. You made every effort to be a good parent, a good partner in your child(ren)’s school . You are going to contribute your max (financially) to make this happen. At this point, you are certain that you have an idea of the fixed tab for educating your beloved child(ren) for the coming school year.

But do you Really?

I remembered seeing a relevant comic strip many years ago. In it you see a man excitedly picking up a Bruno Magli shoe from the closeout table outside the store. The handwritten sign reads “$5.00 for any shoe.” In the next picture he hands over a $5 bill asking for the other shoe. “The left shoe costs $200!” responds the sales clerk.

So much for a great sale.

Before you can actually send your child to school you still need to pay the ‘book fee.’ Then there’s the  ‘Tzivos Hashem fee.’ Then there’s ‘graduation and extra curriculum fee.’ For girls there’s the ‘B’nos fees.’ For this there’s such a fee; for that there’s another fee.

You get the point. After you thought you were done “buying the shoes” now your child “can walk” – go to school… Only to find out he or she is not welcome without the “left shoe”… And that shoe costs more! Oh, and “sorry, there’s no discount on these charges.”

Is this fair? I personally don’t think so. Do you agree?

28 Comments

  • 1. 100% Agree! wrote:

    And also your payment will not go for the actual teacher most times it goes to the owners. the non profit on paper very profitable when it comes to paying for themselves.

  • 2. Mr. wrote:

    I agree they can make these fees non negotiable but they have to tell you in the beginning.

    Its time that WE ( our Community ) start making it clear that we run the schools not the administrator or executives ( or what ever they call themselves).

    its time they open the books to a board and if things are not in order they step down. If they don’t want to step down they will have to unfortunately pay the price for stealing , as well as any other crime for embezzling money from a non profit organization, or for wrongfully using federal aid money.

    This is the sad reality we (the community ) are being taken advantage of.
    The walls are coming down they will not be protected because of their family name or standing in the community.
    Time will tell stay tuned…..

  • 3. Registration FEE! wrote:

    My favorite fee is the registration fee – $600-700 bucks to put my child on the class list – every year!
    I get the school needs more money – I’d rather they just wrap this fee into the tuition instead of taxing me at the beginning of every year.
    The best is this year the school keeps emailing me to sign up and complete all the paperwork online. So now I get to pay the school $700 bucks AND I GET TO DO ALL THEIR ADMIN WORK TOO! What am I paying this fee for again??

  • 4. DeClasse' Intellectual wrote:

    Back aways when I needed to send my kid out of town to a Chabad school, one of the fees was to buy so much a month to a food complex because it obtained for the school food at cost. But in order to ensure this continued, we had to purchase food items from that store even though we could not use it.

  • 5. family wrote:

    miami we have ben gamela public school…teaching hebrew as a languge then after school 2pm until 4 limudi kodesh! how about frum schools doing this with 80% enrollment with frum kids

  • 6. Pops wrote:

    I agree with the op-ed, and feel his frustration. However, I have a friend who owns a large house, takes multiple vacations with his wife and five kids, sends them all to two sessions of camp, spends hundreds of dollars on shoes for himself and enjoys a number of other luxuries. He is self employed and does not claim most of his income on taxes. He makes himself look poor on paper. The schools have to go back & forth with him to get tuition from. I put all of my cards on the table and struggle to pay my tuition obligation, I make less than this guy and cannot afford all theses luxuires., yet this friend pays the same tuition. People have to be upfront and pay their fair share!

    • 7. Mike wrote:

      Whoever can’t pay their should set up meetings in their homes and see the lifestyle they live besides who are we kidding we live in a ghetto with the so-called guys who have it all and still come to ask for a break the administration knows exactly where the coming from.

    • 8. SADLY wrote:

      Of course I agree with your comment, but… really… how many Lubavitchers are in that position. As far as I can tell, they are still in the minority compared to most families who are buckling under the weight between
      family expenses and tuition obligations.

  • 9. whats new wrote:

    Nothing is gonna change they should not push the 50 dollars for tzvious hashem who pockets that money anyhow my daughter had no interest in it it should not be mandatory and as far the new board what board no one can every change the why the school is run unless they get rid of everyone top to bottom half of the people on the board are not capable what they just put a bunch of names in a hat pull them out and say yeah we have a board please….

    a full tuition paying parent

  • 10. #3 good point wrote:

    Everything is done online and yet I still pay for a registration fee. Seriously my kids have been going to school for years it’s not like their information has changed! On top of that I have to pay a fee to use the online registration system I’m given no choice but to use.
    Don’t get me started on buying baking supplies for bake sales I’m obligated to buy from the bake sales too!

  • 12. They are all right... wrote:

    The parents
    The administrators
    The teachers

    It’s a no-win situation…

  • 14. Parent wrote:

    Agree!

    Why do the administrators think that being honest in business applies only to the people who pay the tuition, not the people who are PAID the tuition?!?

  • 15. To #5 wrote:

    I heard that till 2:00 your are forbidden to daven and even make a Brocha with the students ! What message are we sending our children if we do all ״yiddishkeit ” at the end of the day?

  • 17. Oy... wrote:

    People just don’t get it, private school costs a lot and most of us in this community cannot afford it.

    This leaves the school administration in a position where they have to find ‘tricks’ to get us to make the best contribution we possibly can.

    This includes the $50 – $80 – $150 we would spend going out to eat on a book fee, b’nos fee etc..

    Stop crying and either except the reality or change it through getting a less expensive product. (not typical private school)

  • 18. paying fees wrote:

    Registration fees are absurd. Activities fees are best money spent to give chayos to chassidishkeit. Kids gain so much. Activities fees cover, hopefully, the expenses to run the programs.

  • 20. FYI on Tzivos Hashem wrote:

    To the comment on the TH program. It IS a fantastic program. However, it is the schools who take advantage of u NOT Tzivos Hashem. In fact, the schools need to pay ONLY $40 per child!!!!!! (Shouldn’t that just be included in the exuberant book fees?!).
    As for the CH’s – you don’t have it so bad. I hear other places (like Miami) charge $100 for the very same program PER CHILD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • 21. Pedant wrote:

      honestly, if it’s such a great program why don’t parents pony up willingly.

      trust me, if your kid was interested in their checklist of life, you’d pay 5 times the amount.

      The program is very shiny. And works for a small proportion of kids, but we all are taxed to support it.

  • 23. Y.B. wrote:

    Dovid Sputs and K Shemtov
    Dovid Sputs and K Shemtov were extremely accommodating and understanding to me when it came to paying tuition, and they give so much of their time to BR, a big Thank You to both.
    Yossi B.

  • 24. To #11 wrote:

    $30 book fee???
    $15 trip fee??? You have it good.

    Try $195 book fee ( although we are given the list of sforim to purchase. This fee is for handouts and photocopies!!!!)

    Try $325 trip fee

    $300 registration fee

    Ridiculousness at its worst.

    • 25. to #24 wrote:

      How about $300 in book fee???????
      The kids get to use the used – overdoodled – scribbled upon cheap books. AND we need to send $10 for the Homework planner (why exactly is it not included in the book fee?!) And we have the privilege to pay for every trip and / or in school activity!!!!!
      Welcome to Miami!!!!!!

  • 26. You forgot to mention wrote:

    For out of state parents there is the incredibly steep cost of airline tickets back and forth for their children.

    Yes, they could just not come home as often if money is a problem, thats true. Except for the fact the dorms are closed and we are left with no choice but to fly our kids home so…yeah.

  • 27. book fee wrote:

    It looks like our school set the record this year – it’s $600 book fee, per child, in the middle school, and $400 per child in elementary. These are due up-front and are non-negotiable. And this is not for honors or AP-level programs in a prep school – just plain vanilla textbooks for a few subjects. Welcome to Boston!

  • 28. K wrote:

    I agree!

    I hate it when after finding a reasonably priced item I get told that there is a tax on top of it, plus a delivery charge, and an assembly/set-up fee!

    What a nerve!

    And listen to this: If I want those accessories that come with it – I need to pay more! The nerve!

    I ordered a bed and they charged extra for the linen, blankets and pillows!! How am I supposed to sleep on the bed without the bedding?!

    I think they are trying to copy the schools.

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