New York – Parents who send their children to private schools are facing a “tuition crisis,” as the swelling costs of education combined with rising food and housing prices are bringing families to a breaking point, a group of Jewish leaders will warn at a dinner tonight.
the president of Yeshiva University, and a leader of the Orthodox Union is meant to build a case to lawmakers and those seeking elected office that support for an education tax credit — something reviled by the powerful teachers union as a hit to public school funding — is actually crucial to winning elections.
Organizers of the dinner stress that 500,000 children in New York State attend private schools, saving public schools, and taxpayers, more than $7 billion a year.
They paint a dire picture of the stress those families now face as they try to shoulder the cost of education on their own.
At Jewish day schools, tuition has risen by 50% since 2001, the executive vice president of the Sephardic Community Federation, David Greenfield, said.
Mr. Greenfield cited the tuition at two large Brooklyn high schools: At a high-end school, a year of ninth grade now costs $23,000, up from $15,300 in 2001; a low-end school’s tuition for ninth grade is $12,000, up from $6,000 in 2001.
Coupled with housing costs that have tripled in many observant Jewish neighborhoods in recent years, he said, the tuition costs are a tremendous burden.
Tonight’s dinner is a fund-raiser for a coalition of private schools, TEACH NYS, which has been pushing for tax breaks for private school families. It will feature the executive vice president of the Orthodox Union, Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb, moderated by the president of Yeshiva University, Richard Joel.
Now, TEACH NYS is lobbying for expansion once again. The group wants to target tax credits more specifically at private school tuition-payers, and to address the needs of middle-class families as well as poor ones. The credits would be capped at an income level of about $115,000, and parents who send their children to public schools but pay for outside educational services such as test prep and tutoring would also be eligible, Mr. Tobman said.
Mr. Greenfield, a candidate for City Council running for the seat that will be evacuated by Council Member Simcha Felder of Brooklyn, said he is making the tuition problem his campaign’s no. 1 issue.